Indianapolis Democrats are balking at an offer by the newest member of the Election Board to bring vote centers to Marion County on the eve of a settlement conference regarding an early voting lawsuit.

Marion County is being sued by advocates who say its lack of early satellite voting disenfranchises voters because other counties have it.

In a statement released this past week, new election Board appointee Melissa Thompson suggests the county create 99 vote centers (11 in each township) and the creation of electronic poll books.

“The residents of Marion County have been left behind while many parts of the state and country have forged new paths in voting integrity and accessibility. To ensure that Marion County has secure and convenient elections,” Thompson said. “Vote centers have proven to increase turnout while lowering the costs of conducting elections. Using vote centers will allow the voters of Marion County to vote without disrupting their daily lives. Voters can go to the polls after dropping kids off at school, working out, or while they’re at the grocery store shopping, or on their way home from work.”

Thompson said the plan would also include early voting options at those centers.

Marion County Democrats balked at the concept. “The Marion County Republican Party’s formal response to this voting access lawsuit is to make voting even more difficult for Indianapolis residents. In fact, under the Republican plan, Indianapolis would reduce the current 300 election day polling locations by 66% while still, short-changing Marion County voters on early voting, “ Alex Totten, political director of the Marion County Democratic Party said. “There are only two explanations for today’s announcement: either the Marion County Republican Party thinks voters aren’t smart enough to do the math, or they truly believe that “less is more” when it comes to voting rights.”