Indiana Senate Bill 260 could affect polling places and when votes are scanned

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INDIANA (WEHT)– Lawmakers in the Indiana senate elections committee are trying to determine of schools are suitable polling places. Some school board leaders are asking clerks not to use schools as voting sites, but some court clerks say this could cause a big problems for voters.

If Senate Bill 260 passes as is, a school that’s used as a polling place will not be able to have in person learning on Election Day.

“This infringes on the core mission of educating students,” said Indiana School Boards Association Executive Director Terry Spradlin, he also expressed concern about using schools as a polling place during a pandemic.

The author of the bill, Senator Greg Walker said students can continue to learn digitally on Election Day. This section of the bill is aimed to find common ground between lawmakers.

“We’ve had extremes of you shall be, that is the election shall be, conducted in a school regardless of the feelings of the school board. Or we shall never hold elections in schools that’s also been proposed,” explained Senator Walker.

Vanderburgh County Clerk, Carla Hayden, said not being able to use schools as voting locations would be an issue.

“In Vanderburgh County, we would be really hampered by that because we use five schools and the reason we use five schools is because we had a really hard time finding places that were handicap accessible,” explained Hayden.

The bill also addresses counting votes without a delay.

“That’s something I think people noticed this pasted election where it took us a couple of days to actually get results and some of that is because we could not begin scanning any of those ballots until election morning,” Hayden said. She and other Indiana clerks are asking to be able to scan votes as they come in then count them on Election Day.

Hayden said the county’s voting equipment has the ability to pull out ballots if needed.

“The most common reason given is if a voter should die before election day that their vote shouldn’t be counted because they are not allowed to vote early,” said Hayden.

Scanning votes is something that’s already being done in other states.

(This story was originally published on January 25, 2021)

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