Recently, Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita led a bipartisan delegation of legislators and local election officials from his state to Larimer County, Colorado, to observe the operation of vote centers in that jurisdiction. Secretary Rokita’s office released the result of their observation, and their recommendations about how the vote center concept might be used in Indiana. The report, “A Study of Vote Centers, and their Applicability to the Hoosier Election Process,” is a very nice summary of the pros and cons of the vote center concept — but also an excellent example of how election officials can learn from observing the innovations of their colleagues, and how they can then help inform all observers of elections by making public their findings.
The core of the report is a list of pros and cons of the vote center concept. Among the advantages identified by the research group are:
- Improved and more streamlined election management.
- Cost savings.
- Voter convenience.
And the disadvantages identified in the report are:
- Resistance to change, and the possible increase in inconvenience for some voters.
- Technical sophistication required by the county election officials to operate a
- Increased costs of election administration, in particular costs associated with ballot printing and technological changes.
Also included in the report is an excellent table of data from Larimer County, which might be of use for those interested in looking at voter participation trends in that County as they have experimented with various convenience voting options in recent years.
Again, there is useful information in this report for all interested in the vote center concept, and learning more about what Larimer County has been experimenting with. The other important aspect of this report, however, is to see how much one election jurisdiction can learn from the innovations of others. Thanks to Secretary Rokita for making this report available to us all!