Rokita Announces Wayne County as Vote Center Pilot

Contact: AJ Freeney-Ruiz

Contact: Jen Fanger

Richmond, IN - Today, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced the selection of Wayne County as Indiana's second Vote Center concept pilot county. The announcement follows last week's selection of Tippecanoe County as the state's first pilot location.

The advent of Vote Centers means Wayne County residents in the 2007 Primary and General Elections will have flexibility in choosing a polling location from any of the county's centers. Rokita championed the concept before the Indiana General Assembly, which recently passed legislation authorizing the Secretary of State to select pilot counties.

"Our election process has remained the same for more than 100 years, yet our lifestyles have changed significantly," Rokita said. "Vote Centers mean voting the way we live today and no longer worrying about finding the right precinct, because any center in the county will work. The concept also means savings for taxpayers by significantly reducing the cost of election administration."

By utilizing technology, Wayne County will be able to decrease the overall number of polling places and offer the option of voting at the location most convenient for the individual. Centers will be placed in high-traffic, accessible locations, with preference given to locations along public transit lines, such as libraries and public office buildings. Electronic poll books connected by a secure line to the county election board office will be updated in real-time and will enable election officials to ensure each person votes only once.

The change translates to taxpayer savings by reducing the number of voting systems needed to run an election, reducing the number of election workers, and eliminating costly printing and storage of poll books.

The selection of Wayne County follows an extensive application process, in which counties were asked to address questions of technical capability and impact to voters. The law enabling Vote Centers required selection of pilot counties by October 1, 2006, which means only Wayne and Tippecanoe Counties will serve as Vote Center counties in 2007.

"The Wayne County plan is innovative and indicates real commitment to bringing Vote Centers to fruition," Rokita said. "The successful implementation of the Vote Centers concept will certainly be an important step toward improving elections for all Hoosiers."