By Joe Bachman
Wisconsin Rapids polling places will see new homes as of 2017.
In an effort to increase efficiency, the city approved the use of only two polling places that will utilize two voting tabulators each — currently, three polling places use only one voting tabulator each. It is a move that is expected to quicken the voting process, and also make it easier for residents to vote.
“Two larger polling places was considered by myself, and others, as a smart route to go on in an effort to curtail lines at the polling places,” said City Clerk Paul Przybelski. “Often times the lines at polling places happen because the tabulation machine takes five to 10 seconds to read your ballot.”
With the addition of an extra tabulation machine per polling place, the venue will be larger as well. Woodlands Church will be used for eastside voters, while the Centralia Center will be used for westside voters. Wards 1-10 and 22-23 will vote at Centralia Center, while wards 11-21 and 24-29 will vote at Woodlands Church.
“Two polling places also saves money on staffing,” said Przybelski. “It makes perfect sense to save a thousand dollars per election on staff.”
According to the city clerk, utilizing only two venues also makes it easier to count and reconcile votes as opposed to three. The two venues balances out the number of expected voters per polling place almost equally.
“Instead of one line at the voting tabulation machine, you’ll have two lines and two machines, which I think will make it more efficient.”