Hearing

Decatur County Election Board and Vote Center Study Committee member Jennifer Sturges (left) and Decatur County Clerk Adina Roberts are pictured at Tuesday evening’s public hearing about establishing vote centers.

GREENSBURG — Decatur County is one step closer to doing away with precinct-based voting sites and making the move to vote centers following a sparsely attended public hearing Tuesday evening at the Greensburg Learning Center.

In Summary

The proposal establishes 11 vote centers where registered voters could cast their ballots. Unlike the precinct-based polling sites used in the past, a voter could visit any of the vote centers regardless of where they live in Decatur County.

Decatur County residents now have 30 days to file a comment regarding the plan with the Decatur County Clerk; the last day to file a comment is October 28.

The Plan

The plan as presented was formulated by a Vote Center Study Committee comprised of Ryan Maddux, Jeremy Pasel, Chris Ramey, Decatur County Clerk Adina Roberts, Chris Stephen and Jennifer Sturges. Maddux and Sturges also serve on the Decatur County Election Board.

According to information presented Tuesday evening by Roberts and Sturges, in compliance with IC 3-11-18.1-4 the Decatur County Election Board proposes to adopt a plan for the establishment of vote centers in Decatur County to provide more convenient, efficient and cost-effective voting access and procedures for all Decatur County voters.

“Everyone mentioned has worked hard to bring Decatur County voters the best plan available,” Roberts said after naming the Study Committee members and thanking them for their time.

The following are suggested vote center locations to be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Election Day:

1. First Christian Church, 425 N. Broadway Street, Greensburg

2. Knights of Street John, 312 S. Wilder Street, Greensburg

3. Community Church of Greensburg, 1427 W. Vandalia Road., Greensburg

4. Bruner Event Center, 100 N. Webster Street, Street Paul

5. Clay Township Fire Dept., 8433 W. CR 100 S., Greensburg

6. Clarksburg Fire Dept., 6645 N. CR 700 E., Rushville

7. Letts Fire Dept., 4474 W. CR 700 S., Greensburg

8. Millhousen Fire Dept., 7935 S. CR 250 E., Greensburg

9. New Point Community Building., 8041 E. CR 195 S., Greensburg

10. Westport Community Building, 205 W. Main Street, Greensburg

11. Greensburg Public Library, 1110 E. Main Street, Greensburg

Vote center sites will be reviewed and amended prior to each election cycle.

In addition, the plan calls for the following suggested satellite vote center locations to be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., one on each of the two Saturdays prior to the election.

1. New Point Community Building, 8041 E. CR 195 S., Greensburg

2. Westport Community Building, 205 W. Main Street, Greensburg

Absentee voting would be in the Clerk’s Office 28 days prior to the election, including two of the Saturdays prior.

Voters from every precinct could vote at any location or satellite vote center location.

Every ballot style for each precinct in Decatur County would be available at each vote center and each satellite vote center (depending on the election, the number of ballot styles varies greatly; therefore, the plan does not attempt to provide a specific number of ballot styles).

Each vote center would be equipped with provisional ballots for each precinct if the need would arise.

Each vote center and early vote center would be connected to all other vote centers or early vote centers as well as to the County Election Board via electronic poll books connected via secured personal MiFi units with at least two electronic poll book terminals available at each location.

Each location, depending on the election, would also have at least one inspector, two clerks and two judges of the opposite parties.

Voting Equipment

In keeping with the proposed plan, Decatur County will use Microvote Infinity machines. Because the Microvote Infinity are Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting system, the requirement in Indiana Code 3-11-18.1-14 that requires ballots to be kept separately by precinct is easily met, according to the information provided by Roberts.

Just as in traditional elections, at the end of the Election Day votes would still be tallied and reported by precinct.

Before each election a public test would be performed no later than the start of absentee early voting to ensure all the voting panels are working as expected for absentee and Election Day voting. The equipment would then sealed and transported as required under state law.

Decatur County would be using KNOWINK innovative election solutions for its electronic poll book.

The electronic poll book would be securely connected to every vote center and the County Election Board at the Decatur County Courthouse on Election Day. It would securely connect every in-person absentee voting site and satellite voting center and meets all standards set out by Indiana Law under IC 3-11-8-10.3.

Sturges stressed that the voting equipment used and the processes in place locally provide accurate and reliable voting results.

“Indiana probably has one of the most secure voting systems in the country, and I don’t say that lightly, she said.

Comment Forms

Comments forms that allow for public input on the proposed plan can be obtained at the Decatur County Clerk’s office, at the Greensburg/Decatur County Public Library, on the county’s website (http://www.decaturcounty.in.gov/), and Roberts said they will soon be available at other public locations throughout the county.

What’s Next

Following the 30-day comment period, the proposed plan will be considered by the Decatur County Council as well as the Decatur County Commissioners.

If both of the council and commissioners approve it, the plan would then be considered by the Decatur County Election Board.

If the plan clears all remaining hurdles the first election in which vote centers would be operational is the primary election in May 2022.

More Information

Copies of the proposed vote center plan are available at the Decatur County Clerk’s office in the Decatur County Courthouse. The entire plan can also be found on Decatur County’s website.

Questions may be directed to the Decatur County Clerk’s office at (812) 663-8223 or clerk@decaturcounty.in.gov.

Kevin Green: kevin.green@greensburgdailynews.com or 812-651-0885.

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