Benton County’s move to vote centers in place of traditional polling places has been approved by the secretary of state’s office — the final OK needed to carry out the plan. The Benton County Election Commission endorsed the plan and obtained Quorum Court approval before sending the plan to Little Rock. With Monday’s approval from the state, election officials will proceed with vote centers where any registered voter can cast a ballot on election day rather than being limited to a single polling place. Election officials were pleased with the quick decision on the plan. The county plan was sent to the secretary of state’s office in Little Rock twice Monday, with email problems prompting the need for it to be resent. The plan was approved less than two hours after it was resent.
“In a way I am surprised,” said John Brown Jr., a member of the county Election Commission. “I thought there’d be some questions about various and sundry things. But I think the election staff in Little Rock believes we have the ability to make this work.”
Kim Dennison, election coordinator, said the county will have 46 vote centers open for the March 1 party preferential primary election. The county had 68 polling places for elections in 2014. Easy access for voters is the main reason for switching to vote centers, Dennison said.
“Convenience is the big one,” Dennison said. “All of the county’s voters will be able to vote at any location they see on election day. There will be no more hurrying to your precinct polling place after work to beat the time the polls close because they can stop at the first one they come to.”
Election officials have heard from many voters in the past who questioned why they had to go to one particular polling place when there were others nearby, Dennison said.
Full Article: Polling centers given state’s OK.