The proposed changes would take effect in the 2014 general primary election, but first must pass a vote from the Cherokee Board of Elections and Voter Registration on Oct. 7, said Cherokee County Supervisor of Elections and Registration
While the precinct re-workings would result in many Cherokee residents having to go to a new polling place, their representatives would remain the same, according to the Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration office.
Munda said reducing the number of the county’s polling places is intended to save Cherokee County money.
“I think on some elections we could save as much as 25 percent,” she said. “It’s mostly with special and runoff elections where it’s going to save, (because) we won’t have to open as many precincts.”
Munda said in larger elections, the same number of polling-place workers and machines would be deployed, just to fewer precincts.
In recent years, Munda said Cherokee County has incurred new costs, due to more and more voters choosing to cast their ballots early and not turning out on Election Day.
“More people are voting early rather than are voting on Election Day; that’s the trend,” she said. “With that, you’re opening up these precincts, and you’re staffing them, and you’re just not having the voters turn out.”
According to documents from the Cherokee County Elections and Voter Registration office, early voting in the county has spiked drastically in recent years and has more than doubled since 2006.
Munda said Cherokee County’s early voting numbers aren’t unique.
“This is not just Cherokee County,” she said. “A lot of counties have seen this trend throughout the state of Georgia, and a lot of counties are reducing their precincts as well. It’s been successful, and we anticipate that it will be here as well.”
On average, the distance voters would have to travel to cast their ballots would be less than three miles, Munda said Thursday. The most affected area in terms of driving distance, the new north Canton district, has about 2,800 registered voters who will have to drive an average of 5.14 miles if the changes are approved. The farthest distance any one resident in that precinct would have to travel to vote would be just more than 13 miles.
The new north Canton district would include some county voters from the former Canton and Clayton precincts.
The Canton precinct would also receive a sizable makeover if the changes are passed, with city voters from Clayton, R.T Jones, Univeter coming in.
The Cherokee Board of Elections and Voter Registration will hold public hearings on the proposed changes Sept. 16 at 7 a.m. and Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. at Albert L. Stone Elections Building in Canton. The board will vote on the changes following the public hearing Oct. 7.
For a complete list of the proposed changes, visit www.voter.cherokeega.com.