During the recent primary, Daviess County Clerk Leslie McCarty’s office used one polling place, the Owensboro Sportscenter, as the only in-person voting center.
Several other counties also had one voting location for the primary because that cut down on the number of poll workers who could have been exposed to the coronavirus.
While more than 4,000 people voted in person in Daviess County on Tuesday, the process went smoothly, McCarty said, and would be interested in seeing the counties in the state change from having precincts to having a number of voting centers.
“This is down the road,” McCarty said, because lawmakers “would have to enact legislation” to make the change. But McCarty said there would be some advantages to counties who have to employ multiple workers at voting precincts during elections.
Daviess County has 53 voting precincts. Last year, the clerk’s office implemented a consolidation plan. Before the plan, the county had 85 precincts.
McCarty said if large voting centers were allowed instead, several could be placed across the county.
“You would want something centrally located … to areas of the county,” McCarty said last week. “We could have two in all the corners, two in the north, south, east and west, and central in the county.”
Having voting centers “saves money and you’re able to centralize your manpower,” McCarty said.
A small number of voting centers would make it easier for elections workers to fix problems, McCarty said. Currently, clerk’s office elections staff have to go from precinct to precinct “putting out fires,” she said.
The county would need fewer precinct workers during elections if there were voting centers, McCarty said.
“We would have more time to train, and could be selective on who our poll workers are,” she said. Needing fewer workers would be a plus, because “it’s hard to find poll workers.”
Transportation would have to be arranged so people had a way of reaching their voting centers, McCarty said. Some groups provide rides to the polls on election day, but McCarty said the clerk’s office would have to make transportation arrangements as well, like partnering with a bus service.
“I think we would have to work on some initiatives like that,” she said. “That would be another logistics (issue) we would have to work on.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, email@example.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse