Marion County’s fleet of aging voting equipment must be replaced as it is becoming increasingly more difficult to maintain the overall health of the first generation machines. Additionally, current software contracts expire in 2014 and it is unclear whether or not these systems will continue to be supported by the vendor or certified by the State of Indiana.
Before purchasing equipment, the Marion County Election Board must first determine the type of voting experience residents want in order to make the most responsible fiscal decision. Indiana law permits two main types of voting – precinct-based and vote center. There is also the opportunity to take the best ideas of both methods and develop a hybrid plan that is consistent with state law. Each approach requires different voting technology; however, before an investment is made, a thorough vetting of the future of voting in Marion County must be conducted.
In February 2013, the Marion County Election Board launched the Voter Experience Project, an effort to begin this community-wide conversation. To first study the issue, the Board has invited political party leaders, poll workers, elected officials, city-county partners and advocacy groups to learn more about election administration, and share their feedback on how to apply Indiana's voting models to meet the needs and challenges of the 12th largest city in America. After careful deliberation, the study group will present their findings to the Board members, who will then host a series of community meetings to allow the public to express their opinions.
Invited political party leaders, poll workers, elected officials, city-county partners and advocacy groups will be immersed in basic election administration and tasked with providing feedback on how a large city can apply the two voting models currently available under Indiana law: vote center and precinct-based voting. Ball State’s Bowen Center for Public Affairs is partnering with the Election Board to provide their experience on accessibility needs, voting equipment and security measures. The Study Group ratified its report at the July 15, 2013 meeting.
Study Group Membership:
Marion County Democratic PartyMarion County Republican PartyMarion County Libertarian PartyCo-Directors of the Marion County Board of Voter RegistrationIndianapolis-Marion County City-County CouncilMarion County Office of Finance & ManagementMarion County IT BoardGreater Indianapolis NAACPLeague of Women Voters of IndianapolisCentral Indiana Council on Aging
After the Study Group's work is completed, the Election Board wants to hear from Marion County residents. Feedback gathered at a series of public meetings will supplement the Study Group Report, which will be used to inform the Election Board's decision-making when the time comes to purchase new voting equipment. The dates, times and locations of the community meetings are as follows:
The Marion County (Indiana) Election Board recently released a Request for Expression of Interest (REI) seeking information relating to the potential to enter into a contractual arrangement with one or more qualified providers for new election machines, equipment, systems and services for our jurisdiction. There were six (6) responses received by the deadline - five voting equipment; one auxiliary service. View the responses received here.
Study Group Meeting Schedule & Materials
Meetings will be held on the 2nd floor of the City-County Building in the Public Assembly Room. The public is welcome to attend any of these sessions, but will be asked to provide any comment in writing on cards available at the meeting. Every effort will be made to address the questions at the conclusion of the meeting if time permits.