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Election precincts further revised

Changes aimed at cutting costs, confusion

POSTED: June 5, 2013 12:30 a.m.
 

Under a revised plan reviewed Monday by the local elections board, Forsyth County’s precincts would be reduced from 25 to 16 and roads would be used as boundaries.

Betsy Brown, elections community outreach coordinator, updated the board on the proposed precinct overhaul, which was first aired last month and could take effect next year.

The latest proposal would keep the Brandywine, Midway, Polo and Vickery precincts separate instead of combining them into two. Vickery, however, would be extended north to ease crowding at Midway, using Post Road as the dividing line.

“We’ve got no desire to change these precincts for the sake of changing them,” Brown said. “If it was improving things for the voter, great.

“In looking at it more, we just didn’t think it was going to be an improvement, especially for the Brandywine voters. So right now, we’re planning on keeping the Brandywine precinct as it is.”

The biggest transformation is set for the Browns Bridge precinct, which would merge with Chestatee and Pleasant Grove. Keith Bridge Road would serve as the boundary between the new Browns Bridge precinct and the neighboring Crossroads location.

When drawing a new map, Brown said she and other elections officials look at accessibility, traffic, parking and compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

Under the proposal, nearly half of the polling places would be churches and none in schools. Officials have said that removing schools likely will cut down on traffic and confusion around local campuses.

Elections Supervisor Barbara Luth has said the overhaul could save about $15,000 per election. And with four elections slated for 2014, that would make an impact in the department’s proposed budget of about $1 million.

The change likely will create some inconvenience for voters, particularly on the county’s north end, where many may have to travel as far as six miles to vote.

Board chairman Donald Glover said the changes, while potentially inconvenient, will better serve voters.

“I think it’s going to help. But it’s going to be a long process getting it done,” he said.

The proposal will be presented to the public this summer, with several public hearings to be held in June, July and August.  Officials want to submit the map to the Department of Justice by Nov. 1.

Pending justice department approval, the new maps could take effect in January.

 

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