Vote centers' value lies in convenience, officials say


Sharon Keith of Greenwood votes Wednesday at the voting center in the White River Township Trustees office. Johnson County voters are taking advantage of early voting to beat long lines expected next Tuesday.

Voters at the Greenwood Community Center in Johnson County waited approximately 50 minutes to vote Tuesday morning. At 10 a.m., the center had already accommodated more than 1,000 voters

Vote centers save taxpayers money, but the county hasn’t broken even yet on what was spent to switch to a new method of voting. But officials say the real payoff can’t be measured in dollars.

Johnson County made the switch from traditional precinct voting to countywide vote centers last year. The vote centers allow residents to cast ballots at any county polling site, instead of only in their assigned precinct. The change also comes with a cost savings because fewer poll workers and fewer voting sites are needed.

In order to make the switch, the county spent about $136,000 on new equipment, including electronic poll books and signature pads that weren’t required before the transition to vote centers. But officials expect the county to save more money each year, compared with what would have been spent on the old method of voting.

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