Board to host public discussion on vote centers

To seek input on the potential installation of vote centers for future elections, the Jackson County Election Board is hosting a public meeting.

That’s set for 6 p.m. Friday at the courthouse annex, 220 E. Walnut St., Brownstown.

Parking is available behind the Jackson County Judicial Center, 109 S. Sugar St. Enter through the back doors of the courthouse annex.

A vote center is a polling place where any eligible voter in the county can go to vote on Election Day, as opposed to voting at a designated polling place.

During a meeting Thursday, the board had planned on voting on whether or not to follow through on creating a plan to bring vote centers to Jackson County.

After deliberation, it was decided the board wanted to host an event to get community feedback on the prospect of vote centers being used in the county.

The election board consists of Republican Melissa Acton, Democrat Julie Rohlfing and county Clerk Melissa Hayes, a Republican.

Bringing vote centers to the county is a six- to nine-month process, and the board said that would need to be done by the end of the year for vote centers to be used in midterm elections in 2022.

The process includes drafting an official vote center plan, passing resolutions designating the county as a vote center county, forming a study committee to research how vote centers operate, seeking public comment on the board’s drafted plan, approving the plan and filing the plan with the Indiana Election Division.

Election board discussion on implementing vote centers in the county has dated back to 2011, the first year that vote centers were used in Indiana, according to board minutes from that time.

Of Indiana’s 92 counties, 46 have vote centers. Two counties bordering Jackson — Lawrence and Bartholomew — have adopted the use of vote centers.

On Election Day in 2020, there were 20 polling location across Jackson County’s 30 precincts.