Starke County Election Board Prepares Timeline for Possible Vote Center Switch

A timeline for a possible switch to vote centers was recently reviewed by the Starke County Election Board. County officials are considering making the switch in time for the May 5, 2020 primary.

As a first step, the election board’s recommendations for the seven vote center locations will be up for the county commissioners’ approval when they meet tonight at 6:00. After that, Clerk Bernadette Welter-Manuel will work with the Auditor’s Office to make sure the owners of the proposed locations actually want to host a vote center. All of them are already being used as precinct polling places. The seven vote centers will then be tested for internet access, something that will be necessary for the new e-poll books.

The county’s entire vote center plan will be presented at a public hearing during the joint county council and commissioners meeting on November 18. Residents will then be able to comment on the plan until January 2. The election board will review those comments on January 8. Election board members will then vote on the plan, at which point it would go to the commissioners for final approval. The election board would then ask the county council for funding for the e-poll books on January 20.

If the switch is approved, the Clerk’s Office would send a series of notifications to every registered voter in the county. First, a letter would be sent by the end of January. Then, a postcard would be sent at the end of March, followed by a second postcard shortly before the May primary.