Vote centers might go statewide in this election year after a multi-year pilot test by Wayne and two other counties and a law change last year that allows it. Fayette County, though, is abandoning vote centers in 2012, after its first experience during the 2011 city election, an election that went to a recount. Fayette County Clerk Melinda Sudhoff said the Fayette County Election Board agreed late last week not to use vote centers for this year’s presidential elections. The idea will be revisited in 2014, she said. Vote centers eliminate precinct voting and allow voters to vote at any of several locations before or on Election Day. The system reduces the number of polling places, equipment and workers, which cuts costs. Vote centers also make voting more convenient for some voters, but when they vote early at the centers, voters are actually casting absentee ballots, according to the law.
Fayette election officials are concerned many voters won’t use the centers again because of privacy issues, Sudhoff said. During the recount of the mayoral race, the ballots of three early voters were retrieved from electronic voting machines and canceled because they’d failed to sign required paperwork.
Those voters’ names were revealed during the recount commission’s public meeting. One voter didn’t vote in the mayor’s race and the other two were split between the two candidates. The retrieval feature for electronic voting machines is required by state law in case an early voter dies before Election Day. A voter must be alive on Election Day for the vote to count. Fayette’s recount is apparently the first time the retrieval feature has been used to cancel votes in a recount.