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Input on precinct shakeup sought

Few attend meetings, but officials optimistic

POSTED: August 7, 2013 12:28 a.m.
 

Forsyth County voters have two more opportunities to learn about a proposed overhaul to local election precincts.

To date, the Registrations and Elections Office has held three public meetings, beginning in June.

Officials have also spoken to the county’s Republican Party about the changes aimed at reducing the number of precincts from 25 to 16.

While some meetings have been “well attended by poll workers,” Board of Elections Chairman Donald Glover said Monday that he still hopes residents will come to the remaining meetings.

“We’d like to have public input,” Glover said during a board meeting Monday, “but they’re just not coming to meetings.”

Noting that residents will have had five chances to hear about the plan, Glover said “nobody can say they were not given the opportunity for input.”

The proposal, which calls for combining as many as three precincts into one location, has been billed as a cost-saving measure. It also will eliminate using schools as precincts, which should help alleviate traffic congestion around campus carpool lanes.

Officials have said merging precincts could save about $15,000 per election. And with four elections slated for 2014, that could have a sizeable impact in the election department’s budget of about $1 million.

While the meetings have drawn mainly poll workers, elections supervisor Mandi Smith said there has been some positive feedback. Their input likely will lead to another change in the plans, revisiting the Heardsville and Matt precincts to use “Hwy. 369 as the dividing line.”

The proposed precinct setup could inconvenience some voters, particularly in north Forsyth, who might have to travel as far as six miles to reach the polls. 

However, with the possible adjustment to Heardsville and Matt, the new locations would keep voters on major corridors such as Hwy. 369 and not narrower local roads.

Following the final two meetings, the board will vote to approve the maps, which will go into effect in January.

 

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