Wichita County taking the next steps for centralized voting

Local News

Now that 2018 has arrived, you can expect some big issues and several races when you head to the polls.

In Wichita County, commissioners want to make things easier for you when you do go vote later in the year in the midterm general election.

The county wants to make the countywide voting centers the norm after an initial run last November where you were able to vote at any poll location similar to early voting setups.

To move forward, they’ll have to hold a public hearing on the topic Tuesday and then get the approval of the Secretary of State’s office. 

Back in August, Wichita County adopted the new voting system and in November, they held their first election using centralized voting meaning similar to early voting, Wichita County voters could vote in a location convenient to them regardless of their precinct location.    
    
Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said he’s been asked if the county is saving money using the new system, but said they’re not spending any more than before.

“We’re still going to service 70,000 registered voters,” Judge Gossom said. “So we want to make sure we have the appropriate amount of equipment and people there that they’re not standing in long lines.”

Following the November 2017 general election when the system was initially used, Wichita County Clerk Lori Bohanan received results of just over 1600 surveys. Of those, Judge Gossom said only around 10 percent came back negative.
    
“A few people said some things but they didn’t necessarily have a complaint about the vote centers. They have a problem with the voting locations or the equipment, but I don’t recall any of the complaints being I don’t like this. That’s why early voting has gone up so much is because it’s so much easier. You can go to any one of those locations that’s convenient to you and you vote,” said Judge Gossom.

The voting centers won’t be able to be used in the upcoming March primary election run by the republican and democrat parties.
    
However, if commissioners decide to move forward following the public hearing which is slated for Tuesday morning in the commissioner’s court and they get approval by the Secretary of State, it will be available in time for the midterm election in November.

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