New proposal promises larger, more convenient voting centers

New proposal promises larger, more convenient voting centers (Image 1)

Big changes may be in store for voters in Wilson and Sumner Counties.

A proposal before the state legislature would give the counties the option of closing voting precincts and opening large voting centers.

“Vote centers are a way to make it more convenient for the voters to exercise their right to vote,” said Sumner's Administrator of Elections Lori Atchley.

Atchley said there are currently 36 precincts in Sumner County with vote centers, and more than half of those would be closed.

In Hendersonville, for example, Atchley said 14 precincts would be reduced to three voting centers.

“It would be a cost savings, a significant cost savings for the taxpayers,” said Atchley. “Because it requires about a third of the poll workers we currently utilize, to run the vote centers.”

With vote centers, any registered voter has the option of casting a ballot at any of the centers within the county.

“A voter who works in Nashville who lives in the northern part of the county might find it difficult to get to their precinct by the time it closes. They could stop in Hendersonville or White House,” Atchley said.

Other states are using voting centers, according to Atchley.

Tennessee's proposal is for five counties to be part of a pilot program. Sumner, Wilson and Henry counties are asking to be part.

If it is approved, the voting centers would be in place for the May 2014 election.

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