Forsyth County’s nearly 111,000 registered voters can soon expect to receive some mail from the local elections office.
With the July 31 primary election about two months away, the Voter Registrations & Elections Office plans to alert residents to the recent changes in Georgia’s district lines. The cards from the office will let voters know in what districts they live.
“Everybody is impacted because they’ve had so many different changes,” said Barbara Luth, elections supervisor. “By the time you do the congressional, the state Senate, state House, the Board of Education and our commissioners together, it changed everybody.”
Luth added, however, that the precincts, or places where residents vote, have not changed.
The redistricting process occurs every 10 years to match changes in population as determined by the 2010 U.S. Census.
Forsyth County grew about 78 percent between 2000-10, with a current population of about 175,500. That’s up from about 98,400 in 2000.
Among the changes to the political maps, the split of Forsyth between Districts 7 and 9 for the U.S. House of Representatives has deepened.
On the state side, the county is included in parts of five House districts, up from three, while staying in two Senate districts.
In addition to upcoming mailing, the local elections office is making some changes to its fiscal year 2013 budget.
Because 2013 is not an election year, the department’s proposed budget is smaller, dropping from nearly $1.6 million for the current year to $830,575.
The department will, however, seek funding to address some needs, including $25,000 to replace an obsolete scanning system for voter registration card applications for absentee ballots and other information.
“They wanted $44,000 in order to continue upkeep on it,” Luth said. “So we didn’t renew the contract with them and so we’re looking at getting a new scanning system.”
Luth said the department is also asking for 25 express poll books, used to create the digital cards voters use to log their ballots. Also on its wish list: 25 new voting machines to replace some that have deteriorated.
The office currently has 535 voting machines, Luth said.
Finally, the office would like some new laptop computers capable of handling the new voter registration system that will be used in the November presidential election.
“We’re signed up to do the pilot program for the November election for the new voter registration system,” Luth said. “Right now our system for voter registration is DOS based and they’re actually going to a Windows-based system.”