FORT WAYNE – If a proposed plan to reorganize and consolidate polling locations is approved, more than half of Allen County voters can expect some changes during next years elections.
More than half of the voters in 172 precincts would have new locations if the plan is approved, Beth Dlug, director of elections, said Wednesday during a presentation to the Allen County Election Board.
Also under the proposed plan, 35 polling locations would be eliminated and 18 new ones would be added, reducing the number of voting sites from 128 to 111.
Information on which locations would be affected was not available Wednesday.
The state is expected to approve 11 of the new sites this week, Dlug said.
The effort is an attempt to make polling locations more accessible for the countys 120,000 voters and improve efficiency, she said.
Dlug and other staff members assessed polling sites after problems were encountered last year, including with accessibility, parking availability, voter turnout and undersized voting rooms and locations, she said.
No one wants to have their polling locations changed, but there were concerns such as long lines and inadequate parking, Dlug said.
The plan would keep neighborhoods together and take into consideration the potential for growth, she said.
Combining two precincts at one location would also save the county money by reducing workers and supplies, she said.
Members of the audience expressed their concerns.
Im concerned about the flexibility of the lower social-economic groups, Bruce Norman Stier said. Some are not as mobile or as socially aware as others.
William Browne agreed.
Many cannot adjust as easily as those in a higher social-economic group; they have an easier time adapting to change, Browne said.
We want to be as transparent as possible, and nothing is set in stone, Dlug said. We want suggestions and comments on how to improve the plan.
If the new voting locations are approved, the staff plans to publicize them by working with local political parties, libraries and schools, as well as the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System and local license branches, she said.
The proposal is available online at www.acimap.us/acebworking. The public is encouraged to review the proposal and submit comments using the online form at www.allencounty.us/voting-locations. The viewing and comment period will end Sept. 28.
Polling location changes must be approved in January, and the vote must be unanimous, Dlug said.