vote center

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Indiana: Republican’s plan would further suppress voting in Marion County, Democrats say | Indianapolis Star

The newly appointed Republican member of the Marion County Election Board has proposed a way to settle a lawsuit alleging discrimination in access to voting, but a group behind the dispute and Democrats alike say the plan would worsen the problem. Melissa Thompson, who was appointed Sept. 15 to the three-person board, suggests eliminating the 600 existing voting precincts and replacing them with 99 vote centers, but also during the early-voting period a vote center or satellite site in each of the county’s nine townships. Thompson says her plan would save the county money by eliminating more than 500 locations while increasing the number of early-voting locations. She also says her plan would make voting more accessible to workers because they could cast a ballot at any vote center rather than having to go to a designated precinct.   “Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but right now we have the opportunity to think bigger than just this lawsuit,” Thompson told IndyStar.

Full Article: Marion County GOP member proposes change in where people vote.

California: State’s big change in voting rules is off to a rocky start for 2018 | Los Angeles Times

Perhaps no part of California has thought more about the future of voting than Orange County. And yet when it comes to a sweeping change to state elections, the county has decided to take a pass. In fact, recent events serve as a cautionary tale that changing elections is hard, even when the plan is praised by “good government” advocates as the kind of reform that will make voting fit in better with the way we live and work. Less than two weeks ago, the Orange County Board of Supervisors quietly scrapped years of work by its elections officials on a plan to swap neighborhood polling places for universal absentee ballots and a limited number of all-purpose vote centers. There, voters could access a variety of election services — including last-minute registration, a few voting booths and a place to drop off absentee ballots. There would also be ballot drop boxes in heavily trafficked areas of the county.

Full Article: Political Road Map: California's big change in voting rules is off to a rocky start for 2018 - LA Times.

Nevada: Voters will have more options for casting their ballots by June 2018 primary | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Local voters should be able to cast a valid ballot at any polling location inside Clark County, not just their local precincts, by the primary election in June 2018. The County Commission voted Tuesday to spend about $1.57 million to expand the same electronic poll book technology it uses for early voting to all polling places on Election Day. The money will be used to purchases software and hardware from San Diego-based Votec Corporation, the company providing the county’s current early voting election software. The county currently has 200 licenses to use the software, but it will soon have 1,300. “All we’re doing is expanding what we already have in place so we can use it on Election Day,” County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said.

Full Article: Voters will have more options for casting their ballots by June 2018 primary – Las Vegas Review-Journal.

California: State’s electoral future is rooted in the old-fashioned absentee ballot | Los Angeles Times

For all of the intriguing ideas about improving California elections, there was one undeniable truth at a gathering last week of county officials and activists: The state’s 21st century voting will lean heavily on its greatest electoral innovation of 1864. That would be the absentee ballot. Call it reliable or anachronistic, but the do-it-yourself ballot is the foundation of voting reform in a state now on the cusp of 20 million registered voters. That revamping of elections begins next year in a handful of California counties, closing polling places in garages and schools while asking voters, like soldiers during the Civil War, to vote somewhere else. “Voters are looking for a choice,” said Neal Kelly, Orange County’s registrar at the event sponsored by the Future of California Elections, a nonprofit organization. “And they are looking for voting on their own terms.”

Indiana: Bill aims to push for voting precinct consolidation in Lake County | Post-Tribune

A bill before the Indiana General Assembly aims to push Lake County to consolidate its small voting precincts. Rep. Harold Slager, R-Schererville, filed a bill to establish a commission to develop a plan to consolidate Lake County voting precincts with less than 600 active voters. Proponents say the legislation will create savings for the county, while detractors decry consolidation efforts as making it difficult for residents to vote. As more people go to early voting locations, Dan Dernulc, chairman of the Lake County Republican Party, said the county will have to look at consolidation. Combining the smaller precincts would give voters the same if not better level of service, Dernulc said, and save money for taxpayers. “It’s a money-saving idea,” Dernulc said.

Full Article: Bill aims to push for voting precinct consolidation - Post-Tribune.

California: Get ready for a new voting system debuting in 2018 | The Orange County Register

If you voted this fall in a neighborhood garage or the clubhouse of a park or a school auditorium, remember the experience well. It may not be repeated anytime soon. If you saw American flags flying at your precinct polling place, that sight may also disappear. A whole new election system is about to begin in California, complete with “vote centers” and a big expansion of early balloting. The new system will start phasing in 2018 in 14 counties and should be operative by 2020 everywhere in the state. One thing for sure, losing candidates and those who expect to lose will have new fodder for the “rigged election” cry taken up so vocally this fall by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. With more mail-in ballots involved than ever before, same-day voter registration and personnel in place to provide language assistance, charges of fraud will be common at least while the new system is being broken in. The hope behind the new system, pushed hard by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, is to increase voter turnout drastically.

Full Article: Get ready for a new voting system debuting in 2018 - The Orange County Register.

California: New Elections Model Passes State Assembly | Santa Monica Mirror

Legislation authored by Senator Ben Allen (D – Santa Monica) that will transform the way elections are conducted in California passed the state Assembly today on a vote of 42 – 28. “Our current system of limiting voters to one polling location on a single day has failed.  It is time to implement a new voting model that allows people to vote conveniently, close to where they work, shop and congregate,” Senator Allen said. Under the new system, every voter will receive a vote by mail ballot that can be returned by mail, or dropped off at numerous locations throughout the county called vote centers.  Voters will be able to vote in person at the vote centers for 10 days prior to Election Day, including two weekends.

Full Article: New Elections Model Passes State Assembly | Santa Monica Mirror.

Arkansas: Benton County vote centers given state’s OK | Arkansas Online

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.

Full Article: Polling centers given state's OK.

South Dakota: Jackson County settles, but early voting court case not over | Argus Leader

Jackson County has decided to give up the fight about opening an in-person early voting center in Indian Country, making it the last county to do so. County officials signed an agreement with the state authorizing an in-person early voting station in Wanblee, which has a heavy Native American population. Various tribes and voting rights advocates have been asking counties to open voting stations in towns with large Native American populations, arguing that impoverished Indians couldn’t make the trip to county seats to cast early votes. Jackson County was the lone holdout, even after state officials had indicated that the county could use state Help America Vote Act funds to cover the expenses of opening a satellite voting station at Wanblee. The agreement means that the state will fund, and Jackson County will staff, an early voting station through the 2022 election.

Full Article: County settles, but court case not over.

Wyoming: Cheyenne officials: New voting procedures a success | Wyoming Tribune Eagle

Cheyenne was the guinea pig for the rollout of both vote centers and electronic pollbooks in Wyoming on Tuesday. Based on the outcome, government officials are confident the systems will be successful as they are implemented countywide and statewide in future elections. Both processes are enabled by new legislation passed earlier this year by the Wyoming Legislature. They are designed to make the voting process more efficient and available to voters. Vote centers refer to a network of polling locations that allow voters choice in where to vote. Instead of voting at a specific precinct, voters can vote at any of the centers.

Full Article: Cheyenne officials: New voting procedures a success | WyomingNews.com.

National: Elections Technology: Nine Things Legislators May Want to Know | The Canvass

What makes you lose sleep?” That’s what NCSL staff asked members of the National Association of State Election Directors back in September 2012. The answer wasn’t voter ID, or early voting, or turnout, as we expected. Instead, it was this: “Our equipment is aging, and we aren’t sure we’ll have workable equipment for our citizens to vote on beyond 2016.”That was NCSL’s wake-up call to get busy and learn how elections and technology work together. We’ve spent much of the last two years focusing on that through the Elections Technology Project, funded by the MacArthur Foundation. One thing we learned is that virtually all election policy choices have a technology component. Just two examples: vote centers and all-mail elections. While both can be debated based on such values as their effect on voters, election officials and budgets, neither can be decided without considering technology. Vote centers rely on e-poll books, and all-mail elections depend on optical scan equipment to handle volumes of paper ballots.Below are nine more takeaways we’ve learned recently and that legislators might like to know too. Most of the equipment in use around the nation was bought with federal money made available through the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). That was before smartphones were invented, and even iPods were new technology. And a significant portion of the country uses equipment that was bought well before that.

Full Article: States and Election Reform | The Canvass: May 2015.

Voting Blogs: One county at a time, vote centers coming to Texas | electionlineWeekly

Some revolutions start with a shot and others take time to build. In Texas, a slow-building revolution is moving one county at a time to switch the largest state in the lower 48 to a vote center system instead of the traditional precinct-based polling places. Since beginning a pilot program of vote centers nearly a decade ago just over 10 percent of the state’s 200+ counties used vote centers in the most recent statewide election and more are petitioning to make the move. While not willing to call the pilot an outright success because of the still small sample of counties using the system, the secretary of state’s report to the 84th Legislature on the program said anecdotally, vote centers do make easier for voters and elections officials alike.

Full Article: electionlineWeekly.

Wyoming: House gives first OK to voting centers legislation | Casper Star Tribune

The Wyoming House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve first reading of a bill that would allow county clerks to set up voting centers that are independent from any given precinct. Senate File 52 would allow any voter in a given jurisdiction to vote at any polling center in that jurisdiction, rather than being tied to a specific location on Election Day.

Wyoming: House committee clears e-pollbooks, vote centers | Wyoming Tribune Eagle

A House committee gave its approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow county clerks to begin using electronic pollbooks and vote centers instead of traditional polling places on Election Day. Senate File 52 would allow county clerks to replace their existing paper pollbooks with electronic books for the purposes of keeping track of who is registered to vote, who has voted and where they voted. With electronic pollbooks, clerks would also be able to open “vote centers,” or polling places where anyone in a given jurisdiction can vote on Election Day, regardless of where they live within that jurisdiction. The idea of the bill is to provide better access to voters, particularly for jurisdictions where some far-flung polling places are having trouble staying open due to a lack of election judges. It also, in the case of elementary schools, would help alleviate any safety concerns about interaction between schoolchildren and the voting public.

Full Article: House committee clears e-pollbooks, vote centers | WyomingNews.com.

Wyoming: Voting centers bill marches ahead in Legislature | Casper Star Tribune

A House committee Tuesday forwarded a bill that would allow county clerks to establish centralized voting places for future elections. Senate File 52 previously passed the Senate and now has three rounds of voting before potentially becoming law. In Wyoming, people vote by geographical precinct. A county voting center would be a place where anyone, regardless of their precinct, could vote. Laramie County Clerk Debbye Lathrop told members of the House Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee voting centers would be helpful to someone who lives in one town and works in a larger city, where a voting center could located. Instead of having to drive home during the lunch hour, the voter could cast a ballot in the city.

Full Article: Voting centers bill marches ahead in Wyoming Legislature.

Indiana: Bill to end straight-ticket vote goes forward | Journal Gazette

The House Elections committee voted 8-4 Wednesday to move forward a proposal that would eliminate one-button, straight-ticket voting in the state. The vote fell along party lines with Republicans in support and Democrats opposed. Under current law, voters can cast their ballots for all of one party’s candidates – Democratic, Republican or Libertarian – with a single click or mark. House Bill 1008 would require voters to choose a candidate specifically for each office. Party identifiers would still be next to each name. Rep. Dave Ober, R-Albion – author of the legislation – said in the last election, only one state in the top 10 in terms of voter turnout used straight-ticket voting. In the bottom 10 states – including Indiana – five offer straight-ticket voting.

Full Article: Bill to end straight-ticket vote goes forward | Indiana | Journal Gazette.

Ohio: Voting Centers Not Likely To Happen In Ohio Anytime Soon | WCBE

When Ohioans go to vote in person on Election Day, they go to their local precinct polling stations. But in some states, voters go to larger centers that are designated by the counties. That idea was recently floated at a meeting of Ohio elections officials. Those centers are not likely to be a reality in the near future. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports. Ohio’s elections officials have long said they want to reduce the number of provisional ballots cast in Ohio elections. Many times those are cast because voters go to the wrong precinct. But Aaron Ockerman with the Ohio Association of Election Officials says one way to eliminate that problem is by going to large voting centers instead of neighborhood precincts.

Full Article: Voting Centers Not Likely To Happen In Ohio Anytime Soon | WCBE 90.5 FM.

New Mexico: Native voting pact eased poll access, but turnout down | Albuquerque Journal

Twenty-five years ago today, Sandoval County officials responded to a federal lawsuit filed to make it easier for Native American voters to understand and cast their ballots, setting in motion a drawn-out and sometimes contentious relationship to bring the county into compliance with the Voting Rights Act. Though increasing voter turnout was not an explicit goal of the county’s Native American Voting Rights Program, which resulted from the lawsuit, the number of voters has decreased in presidential elections and at least stagnated in midterm elections since 2006, according to a Journal review of New Mexico Secretary of State’s office data. The 2014 election was the first since 1988 that did not have federal monitors present in any of the precincts.

Full Article: Native voting pact eased poll access, but turnout down | Albuquerque Journal News.

Wyoming: Bill Proposes Voting Centers and E-Poll Books | KCWY

Your neighborhood polling place may join typewriters and Model T’s if one bill passes the legislature. News 13’s Cody O’Hara spoke with senators favoring the bill who say it will increase voter turnout, as well as one who says he sees this as a way to close some polling places. “We need to make it easier for people to vote and this bill goes in the opposite direction,” said Senator Charlie Scott of Natrona County. A bill being held back in the Senate until Wednesday would allow electronic voter check in at any local polls as well as establish optional voting centers, but some senators say it will lead to polling place closures. “I don’t know of any clerk who has any intention to close any existing polling places,” said Senator Cale Case of Natrona County.

Full Article: Bill Proposes Voting Centers and E-Poll Books.