Voters may have to buck their routines in the 2012 election after Gov. Susana Martinez on Thursday signed election-related measures that could significantly alter Election Day procedures in some counties. Counties will now have the option of consolidating staff — and precincts — into large “voting centers.”
The centers will operate much like early voting sites, allowing people to vote at any of the voting centers regardless of where they live in the county. On the flip side, many voters will no longer have the option of voting at their traditional precincts, usually at a local school, if their county chooses the voting center option in 2012. County clerks pushed for the legislation earlier this year, calling it a more efficient voting system that will save taxpayer dollars.
“We worked very hard to get this legislation passed because it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars in manpower and supplies,” Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Thursday. “My staff will be concentrating on a voter education campaign to help residents understand how this change will impact them.”
Some critics are concerned that the voting centers will undermine traditional democratic practices such as precinct boards, which they say act as a check on the power of county clerks.
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