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Column: Vote centers integral to turnout, participation




Daily Journal

When hundreds of people stood in line to vote at popular sites in Greenwood and the Center Grove area, many Johnson County voters had to wait from half-an-hour to an hour and occasionally more to cast ballots on Election Day.

Long waits at polling places can discourage people from voting in the next election, so Johnson County election officials need to carefully assess the successes and failures of this year’s election.

Clearly, one of the successes was early voting. About one in every three county residents who voted in the fall election cast their ballots early. Johnson County Clerk Sue Anne “Susie” Misiniec said she will continue to encourage voters to cast ballots before Election Day.

About 21,000 of the 57,949 Johnson County voters who cast ballots this year voted early, marking a significant increase in early voting. About 11 percent of ballots cast were before Election Day during the last presidential election in 2008.

Over time, even more people are likely to vote early once they get used to vote centers that allow them to vote at any polling site anywhere in the county instead of a designated site close to home, Misiniec said.

But early voting will solve only part of the problem. As many people out of tradition or habit will vote on Election Day itself, lines still will be possible at the polls.

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