County consolidates voting locations for 2012 elections

PLYMOUTH — With less than 30 percent of registered voters casting a ballot in the recent municipal election, the Marshall County Election Board has reconsidered the 23 voting locations currently established in the county.
Election board president Steve Harper and vice president Roger Wise visited the county commissioners meeting Tuesday morning to propose a plan to condense voting locations to only 16 for 2012.
“We are really excited to put this (system) in place for the primary (election), because we know fall will be a large election,” said Harper.
Having only 16 voting locations will enable the county to hire less personnel, with a total savings of $9,010 per election. Information presented by election board members at the meeting stated that one of the reasons for the change was that finding qualified poll workers is becoming difficult. The existing poll workers will receive a raise this year, however, as they will be responsible for an increased workload.
“It’s going to be harder work for those that are (at the polls) because there will be less of them,” said Harper. “We think it’s a big step, but we think it’s warranted.”
Harper noted that voting sites in Plymouth will not be consolidated, since city precincts will be changed in 2012 according to state election law.
Harper and Wise also discussed their difficulty in finding a voting site for North Township. Their first choice was the LaPaz Community Building, but they expressed concerns that there would not be enough parking when the area becomes muddy during spring and fall. The election board had also considered the LaPaz Fire Department, but Harper said that fire department personnel was concerned that voter’s parked vehicles could be in the way during an emergency situation.
Commissioner president Kevin Overmyer said that if necessary, the commissioners would pursue getting extra paving done near the LaPaz Community Building in order to accommodate voters.
“The commissioners are responsible for having polling sites open to the public, and if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do,” said Overmyer.

Voting locations according to the election board’s proposed plan are as follows:

Bourbon Township— Triton High School
Center Township — Marshall County Building, Plymouth Fire Station, Webster Recreation Center, Knights of Columbus, Plymouth Baptist Church, and REMC Auditorium
German Township — Bremen Missionary Church, Lake of the Woods Clubhouse, Bremen High School,
Green and Walnut Townships — Methodist Church
North Township — Unknown
Polk Township — Tyner Community Building
Tippecanoe Township — Tippecanoe Community Building
Union Township — Culver Library
West Township — Pretty Lake Fellowship Hall