Elections board to vote on precinct cut
by Joshua Sharpe
October 26, 2013 10:22 PM | 1770 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — After postponing a final decision during its last meeting, the Cherokee Board of Elections and Voter Registration is set to vote Monday at 9:30 a.m. on a proposed reduction in the number of voting precincts in Cherokee County.

If approved, the changes would reduce the number of precincts from 42 to 28 and would cause many residents in the county to vote at a new polling place, beginning in the 2014 general primary election.

Officials have said the intention of the precinct cut was mostly to save the county money after an increase in early voting created unnecessary spending to operate polling locations with lower turnouts on the day of the election.

Cherokee elections board Chairman Randy Gravely said Friday the board voted to postpone its decision in an effort to weigh concerns raised by residents in a public hearing earlier in October. Those residents said they were concerned the precinct cut could cause voter confusion, parking issues at smaller polling places and complicate campaigning on precinct lines.

“We had a great participation at the last public hearing,” Gravely said. “And we wanted to make sure that every board member had the time to take that information and digest it.”

Gravely said he couldn’t speculate on exactly how or if the precinct changes would be approved during the meeting Monday.

Cherokee County Supervisor of Elections and Registration Janet Munda also said she didn’t know what action the board would take.

“The only thing that I’m going to suggest to the board is one change in the name of one of the precincts,” Munda said Friday.

But with the prevalence of early voting increasing in recent years, Gravely said cutting the precincts could save money.

“Looking at our county, it makes sense to decrease those precincts,” he said. “We don’t have the lines we’ve had in the past.”

In recent elections, more than 50 percent of the ballots had come in before Election Day, Gravely said.

“I think now more and more people know that it’s out there and available,” he said. “The way we vote today is different than the way we voted several years ago.”

Gravely said the proposed changes could also reduce the number of split precincts in Cherokee County and ensure that voters visit the same polling place for local, state and federal elections.

The meeting will be held at the Albert L. Stone Elections Building in Canton.

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