Starke County Election Board Forms Vote Center Study Committee

Efforts to bring vote centers to Starke County continue. A proposed vote center plan failed to get the required unanimous vote from the county election board on four separate occasions. But there’s still a chance a plan could be implemented in time for the May primary, according to Deputy Clerk Colleen Hodge.

“The state has granted an extension, so we actually have until March 5 to be able to do it for the primary,” she explains.

Election Board Member Harrison Fields has cited the lack of a study committee in the planning process as one of the reasons he’s repeatedly voted against the proposed plan. To address that, Hodge says the election board put a committee together Thursday. “This is a committee to go over the current vote center plan and to make changes to the plan that will make it acceptable to all three members of the board,” Hodge says.

She says the committee includes Democratic Party Chair Jeff Houston, Republican Party Chair Dave Kesvormas, County Council Member Brad Hazelton, Auditor Rachel Oesterreich, and Poll Worker Kate Yankauskas.

The committee members were given copies of Starke County’s proposed vote center plan, the plans of surrounding counties, and information on Starke County’s election budget. Hodge says if the plan isn’t approved in time for the primary, the committee will keep working to get vote centers established for the November General Election.