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Henderson County continues to work toward converting to vote centers before the election date in November.

Vote centers are an alternative to traditional, neighborhood-based precincts. When a jurisdiction chooses to use vote centers, voters may cast their ballots on Election Day at any vote center in the jurisdiction, regardless of their residential address.

"For me, it's just a better option for our voters," Elections Administrator Denise Hernandez said.

Public hearings are set for 9:15 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 23.

"I think it's important to hear what the public thinks about that," Hernandez said.

The hearings have to be complete before the county sends its vote centers application to the Secretary of State. That must be done by the second week of August for the county to get approval for the November election.

The vote centers can prove convenient for residents leaving or returning to the county on Election Day. Hernandez said the voter may choose one close to their job or day care.

The November date will give the Election's Office a chance to sample the system before the Republican and Democratic Primaries in 2020 and the presidential election in the fall.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado was the first state to allow counties to opt the system, beginning in 2005. There are now 14 states using the vote center method.

Hernandez said the recent committee meeting on the subject brought mostly positive reactions.

"I think everybody is in agreement that that's necessary here," Hernandez said. "We still working on some of our polling places, but we hope to get that resolved."

The county currently has 26 election day polling places. Hernandez said they could create as few as 17 vote centers, but about 20 is a likely number.

"The only concern of the committee is there are some polling places they'd like to remain open," Hernandez said.

The polling places chosen must be ADA compliant.

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