Starke County Commissioners Consider Vote Center Resolution

A resolution that would start the process to move to Vote Centers was discussed in a joint session meeting with the Starke County Commissioners and Starke County Council members Monday night.

In a previous meeting, the commissioners asked County Attorney Marty Lucas to draft a resolution that recognizes the commissioners’ acknowledgement of the importance of “…crafting a plan of implementation of Vote Centers in Starke County that will address the needs and wishes of all citizens throughout Starke County.”  The resolution further states that the commissioners ask for the necessary procedures by the Starke County Election Board to move to Vote Centers in time for the 2020 Presidential Election. 

Members of both governing bodies noted that Vote Centers will save the county money and will be easier for the voters of Starke County. 

An official discussion has yet to be held by the Starke County Election Board as to how many Vote Centers there will be and where they will be.  The board will also need to develop a plan and approve it with a unanimous vote.  That plan will then be approved by commissioners and county council before it is implemented.  Public input will also be gathered as part of the process. 

Clerk Bernadette Welter Manuel indicated that it will be a topic of discussion during the Aug. 28 meeting at 9:30 a.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Starke County Courthouse. 

When the list of Vote Centers is compiled, Councilman Howard Bailey asked that a written letter be provided by authorities whose facility is chosen as a Vote Center to verify the acceptance of being a Vote Center.

He also stressed that the members of the Election Board work together to move a plan forward.  He proposed an oversight committee to ensure that happens. 

Councilman Freddie Baker thought that this decision may be hasty and doesn’t believe there’s enough time to implement a plan. 

In the end, the Starke County Council members supported the move while the commissioners approved the resolution.  When the plan is eventually approved, e-poll books will need to be purchased for the Vote Centers, per state requirement.