VALPARAISO | The Porter County Election Board thoroughly discussed, but took no action Friday, on the possibility of switching to voting centers for future election days.
The possible move to voting centers and to modernize the voting process in Porter County will be broached at the board's next meeting scheduled for Jan. 23, chairman David Bengs said.
"We should keep the conversation open," Bengs said.
Bengs said the board will continue to explore making the voting process more efficient for poll workers and more cost effective by streamlining the number of places where people vote. In addition, the board will also look at the updating of the way votes are processed such as the use of electronic poll books.
Presently all votes cast in Porter County are done so with paper ballots, Bengs said.
"We have to make improvements," Bengs said.
Porter County Clerk Karen Martin, who sits on the election board, presented a report on research she has done on the cost effectiveness of moving to voting centers and electronic poll books.
Martin's analysis indicates a reduction of polling places could mean a savings to the county of up to $60,000.
Board member J.J. Stankiewicz said he had also researched the issue and found a number of negatives about a move to centralized voting and electronic poll books.
Stankiewicz said his research included talking to officials in New Albany, where centralized voting had been instituted and finding out that voters there had to wait in line for one to two hours.
Other negatives, after talking to officials in Lake County, include the fact that computers can be hacked into and can also go down.
"Right now I can't go along with voting centers," Stankiewicz said.
Bengs said the feedback he has received from others is that Porter County's current voting system isn't working.
"There has to be a better way and I'll continue with the conversation," Bengs said.