The Herald Bulletin

March 13, 2013

Viewpoint: County should not rush into voting centers

By Claude R. Huffman

Summitville resident

This letter is in response to a viewpoint published Jan. 20: Discussions on voting centers in Madison County.

I have no objection to voting centers. However, the premise was that the objective was to be cost saving and to create flexibility. If vote centers are adopted, we could reduce polling staff and require fewer voting machines. Cost saving in personal life, business and government should be a prime consideration. However, if there is one area where cost should not be the motivating factor, it would be in the operation of polling places. The primary function of a polling place is to allow citizens to cast their vote without undue harassment or impediment due to time constraints (i.e., long lines).

If we choose Voting Centers, what will we do to ensure voters have reasonable access to vote in a timely manner? If voters can come from anywhere in the county, how do we decide how many machines and the number of personnel necessary at each center? If a center develops a backlog (anything over 15-30 minutes wait), will the center be prepared with additional personnel and machines so the wait issue can be resolved?

These issues must be decided before we move to vote centers. Also, specific rules and guidelines must be developed and committed to by all political parties involved, so the process maintains continuity during all elections.

I have spent many years of my life serving our nation. The primary motivation was national defense and protecting citizen rights. There is nothing more sacred in America than the citizen’s right to vote. There is a large number of veterans living in Madison County who have sacrificed much for their country. I urge all veterans to become involved in the voting center discussions. All voting citizens should become involved. No matter what your politics, if the voting process becomes limited for any reason, at some point in the future we will no longer be a free nation.

Claude R. Huffman retired from the U.S. Army with the rank of command sergeant major.