6 vote center sites chosen

GREENFIELD — Six vote centers will be set up across the county this spring for the May 6 primary municipal election.

The scaled-back vote center plan was approved Tuesday by the Hancock County commissioners. Since not all communities will have an election in the spring, and city elections garner a lower voter turnout, only Greenfield, McCordsville and Fortville will host vote center sites.

Vote centers are open to all Hancock County voters, who may cast their ballots at any location regardless of where they live.

Early voting will take place at the Hancock County Courthouse, Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield, Fortville Community Center and McCordsville Town Hall. Those sites, minus the courthouse, will be open on Election Day for voting, as will the Hancock County Courthouse Annex and the Hancock County Fairgrounds.

There was little discussion of the plan before commissioners approved it unanimously. Commissioner President Brad Armstrong said for the most part he heard positive comments on vote centers in the inaugural year in 2014.

“I think it allows for more convenience for voters with the different times,” Armstrong said.

Commissioner Marc Huber agreed, saying while he didn’t hear a lot of feedback from the community, those who did comment on vote centers liked the flexibility of hours. Vote centers opened up more opportunity for early voting, and Huber and Armstrong believe the centers will work just as well in city elections as they did in the countywide election.

The plan, which was approved last month by the Hancock County Election Board, also includes times and locations for the Nov. 3 general election. By then, New Palestine, Shirley and Wilkinson will also conduct municipal elections, so four more vote center sites will be added.

“The election board feels like these locations will be sufficient,” Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore said. “Small towns can run their own election, but it’s not likely they will. They haven’t in the past, so we are prepared to run their elections.”

The Hancock County Fairgrounds is a new vote center location, Moore noted. While it has been a polling site in years past, it was not included in the vote center plan last year.

It was brought on as a vote center to replace NineStar Connect on Main Street. NineStar Connect saw little foot traffic as a vote center in 2014, she said.

Meanwhile, it’s still hard to gauge interest in the municipal elections this year because the period to file runs through noon Friday. So far, there are only a few contested races; they are for Greenfield mayor, Greenfield City Council District 1 and Fortville clerk-treasurer.

For more information on how to file or what district seat corresponds with your address, call the Hancock County Election Office at 477-1171.