Although vote centers could provide long-term cost savings, switching to their use carries significant one-time transition costs. Vote centers allow individuals to cast their vote at any center that is convenient to them, instead of just one location, and have been lauded by some as cost-savers because they reduce the number of polling places and poll workers.
But modifying or replacing existing precinct-based voting technology for use in vote centers can be an expensive task in the short term.
For example, Allen County, IN, which has more than one-quarter-million registered voters, has elected not to convert to vote centers for the 2014 election, citing upfront technology costs of $300,000. Voting machines would need costly reprogramming in order to provide different ballots to voters depending on their municipal races. Also, because voters could go to any vote center, Allen County would need to switch from paper “poll books” to an electronic check-in system linked across centers.