02/24/11 Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed Vote Center legislation into law, his first bill this legislative session. This legislation will allow any Indiana county to use the centers instead of traditional polling precincts.
The bill to make Vote Centers in Indiana a reality passed two weeks ago in the Indiana House of Representatives. The legislation results from five years of hard work led by former Indiana Secretary of State, Representative Todd Rokita (IN). After tirelessly advocating for the importance of Vote Centers, Rokita and Indiana’s bipartisan local election officials’ efforts paid off big time yesterday for Hoosier voters and the process of real election reform.
As Secretary of State, in 2005, Rokita led a bi-partisan delegation of local and state election officials to Larimer County, Colorado, to view Vote Centers in action. The delegation returned with information that resulted in the establishment of three Vote Center pilot counties. Those counties; Tippecanoe, Cass, and Wayne, all reported savings in administering elections by reducing the number of machines and poll workers needed and creating other efficiencies. Vote Centers also helped introduce innovative technologies to the polling place such as electronic poll books.
Even as he left his post as Secretary of State to join Congress, Rokita sent a letter (attached) to every Indiana state legislator calling for their continued work on this important reform. He rallied local election officials at their annual December meeting — a final push that ended in great success yesterday.
Rokita released the following statement:
“I was ecstatic to hear of yesterday’s passage of a bill in favor of Vote Centers in Indiana. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work and advocacy by election officials of both Parties across the state of Indiana. Passing this election reform was a dream I had years ago and I am overjoyed to know that Hoosier voters will be better served from now on. I am proud to have stood with local election administrators and other community leaders in calling for this efficient and fiscally responsible option for counties to improve the election process for their voters.
Vote Centers will improve accessibility for all voters and have proven to save taxpayers money. At a time when all of us are tightening our belts, Vote Centers give counties an option that can help improve their fiscal status. I am pleased the General Assembly has finally decided to provide this innovative tool to counties should their leaders choose to implement it.
I applaud the Indiana General Assembly for seeking ways to make government more efficient and accountable to the people of Indiana. I hope my colleagues in Washington D.C. take notice of the innovations and common sense reforms taking place at the state and local level, like Vote Centers, so we can reduce the waste and spending on the national level as well.”
*Vote Centers will allow counties to reduce the number of polling places needed to conduct an election, making voting easier and more convenient by their strategic placement in more accessible locations. They permit registered voters to vote at any location in the county.