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Fund election equipment upgrades

A lot of hard work goes into each election season, and the Grant County election officials deserve a thank you from our community, along with the candidates who came up short this past Tuesday.

The heart of the issue in this past Tuesday’s delay, along with other election delays, is likely caused by a need for updated election equipment and proper funding set out in future budgets.

It is refreshing to see our current election deputy Nancy Bryant and county clerk Pamela Harris being proactive in their roles by adding a request for more funding for the 2020 presidential election and by discussing the use of vote centers as opposed to assigned voter precincts.

Vote centers have proven to be effective in surrounding counties, like Huntington County. Huntington County election officials have talked highly of their change to voting centers, saying they give voters more freedom to pick a polling location that makes it easier to exercise their constitutional rights.

The switch to voting centers has been controversial in some places, like Lake County, where political parties fought about the location of the centers and how consolidation may affect voting lines.

The Pew Charitable Trust reports that recent studies suggest voting centers are more cost-effective than traditional methods because it cuts down on machines and staffing. The report also states that vote centers reduce the amount of provisional ballots cast since voters don’t need to go to a specific location.

The switch to vote centers often requires an upfront investment, according to the Pew Charitable Trust. Experts suggest voting equipment should be replaced every 10 years, according to the Brennan Center, so it would be wise to coincide a change to voting centers around that time.

Those in charge of the election office budget shouldn’t be worried about receiving pushback from taxpayers for investing in top-of-the-line voting equipment or the appropriate staff, since we feel these expenses are good use of public dollars.

The 2019 primary election went smoothly, Bryant said in a correction published in today’s paper. There were no technical issues with the website in May unlike past years. T

he delays seem to come during high-volume elections. This Tuesday’s general election saw an influx of early and absentee ballots, which are required to be hand counted by a bi-partisan team.

With the 2020 presidential election nearing quickly, the push to add more funds ahead of the primary and general elections is a good call. It’s hard to anticipate large voter turnout, but there is no doubt that the 2020 presidential race seems to be garnering a lot of attention.

The dozens of volunteers and employees who helped make Tuesday’s election deserve a warm thank you, but those in charge of election funding need to invest in the future to avoid any possible issues with equipment.

The investment would solidify citizens confidence that our elected officials are committed to transparent, efficient and effective elections.