October 11, 2021
Voters impacted by the redistricting plan and changes to precincts will be getting new voter cards in the coming weeks, according to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.
The election commission by a unanimous vote has now completed the legal process of drawing precinct lines, a requirement following the county legislative body’s adoption of a district plan based on the 2020 federal census.
Every 10 years the county commission is tasked with looking at the district populations and redrawing the boundaries to coincide with the equal representation law based on the latest census. Then the process requires the election commission to review precinct lines based upon the newly-adopted districts and adopt changes needed to make the overall election process operate more smoothly and be more economically efficient.
The voters moved from District 3 to District 2 under the redistricting plan have been assigned to the Snow Hill Community Center. Those moved from District 5 to District 6 have been placed at the Blue Springs Community Center precinct.
In addition, the commission also by a unanimous vote combined three other voting precincts. Those who were voting at the Dowelltown Community Center have been assigned to vote at the Liberty Community Center precinct; those who were voting at Edgar Evins State Park have been assigned to the Temperance Hall precinct; and those who were voting at Belk have been assigned to the Keltonburg precinct.
After reviewing the precincts, election officials said there were two factors in combining three voting locations: costs and the labor pool
“Polling places are not provided free of charge,” Election Commission Chairman Walteen Parker and Administrator Dennis Stanley said in a joint statement. “The workers are paid, there is a cost to programming voting machines, and there is a cost to the materials provided at each precinct.”
“It has also become increasingly more difficult to find the number of workers needed to man 15 voting locations. These moves provide more flexibility in administering the entire process,” the two added.
While no plan as been adopted at this point, election officials are looking at the possibility of expanding the early voting opportunities.
“No final decision has been made, but with the savings of combining precincts, the commission will likely look at either adding a few extra hours at the courthouse or adding an early voting site in the western part of the county for a portion of the early voting period,” Parker said. “That’s a decision that will be made early next year.”