Precinct consolidation table and Board of Elections 2014-07-22

Still 9 precincts this year like last year, but one of the polling locations has changed (Pine Grove to Trinity), and the precinct boundaries have changed. Yet again the board of elections plans still more fiddling with precincts this year. There was a Special Called Board of Elections meeting yesterday, and a regular meeting is 9AM Tuesday 22 July 2014.

Let’s update last year’s polling place table.

2014 2013 2012 2011
Pct 1 Pct 1Pct 1Hahira Historical Society
Precinct 1 Newsome St. Church
Pct 2Pct 2 Precinct 2 Old Pine Grove Elementary School Gym
Pct 2 Pct 3Trinity Presbyterian Church
Precinct 3 Westminister Presbyterian Church
Pct 3 Pct 3Pct 4 Precinct 4 Northside Baptist Church Gym
Pct 5 Precinct 5 Jaycee Park Activities Building
Pct 4 Pct 4Pct 6 Precinct 6 Naylor City Hall
Pct 7 Precinct 7 Wood Valley Community Center
Pct 5 Pct 5Pct 8 Precinct 8 Rainwater Conference Center
Pct 6 Pct 6Pct 10 Precinct 10 Mildred Hunter Community Center
Pct 7 Pct 7Pct 9 Precinct 9 New Clyattville Fire Station
Pct 8 Pct 8Pct 11 Precinct 11 Dasher City Hall
Pct 9 Pct 9Pct 12 Precinct 12 South Lowndes Recreation Center

Confused yet? Even the precincts with the same polling places may not have the same precinct boundaries, so you may have changed precincts without moving. For example, last year that was I was in Pine Grove Precinct, but now I’m in Hahira.

See VALORGIS for current precinct boundaries. VALORGIS lists 12 polling places, which may be because some of them are only for municipal elections. But there are four municipal polling places Hahira, Remerton, Dasher, Lake Park) and 4 + 9 != 12, apparently because Dasher City Hall is both a municipal polling place and a county polling place.

And that’s down from 35 precincts in 2004 to 9 now.

While canvassing, one of the most frequent questions I got was “where do I vote?” and the answer was often “at a new place this year”. That is quite confusing to people and is enough to convince quite a few not to bother voting. Which is a problem.

This is why we see news like Lowndes second worst in Georgia for voting access.

Hm, here’s Lowndes County Election Supervisor Deb Cox in 2012 quoted by the VDT as saying “Provisional ballots could ‘tilt’ races” (by Quinten Plummer, 6 November 2012), yet more recently she’s said provisional ballots are not a sign of voting problems.

Here’s Deb Cox explaining the Board of Elections budget at the county budget meeting 10 March 2014. I don’t think she said much about changing precincts again.

Previously when I’ve talked to her she’s said the problem is it costs a lot to keep numerous precincts open when fewer people are voting early, and the plan is to get down to a small number of precincts (3?) and then let everybody vote at whichever precinct they want to.

The county already has the technology to do that, since they use it in early voting at the Board of Elections. I seem to recall Deb told me the state had to permit the county to allow voters to vote at any precinct. Might be worth asking her for confirmation of that.

If we could just go straight to vote-anywhere, that would eliminate most of the provisional ballot issue, since it’s caused by people confused by the annual precinct changes.