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Cherokee Wants to Cut Polling Precincts

The Cherokee County Board of Elections is considering a proposal to reduce the number of polling places from 42 to 28.

Credit: Patch
Credit: Patch
A proposal is on the table to slash the number of polling precincts in Cherokee County. 

The Cherokee County Board of Elections is considering an option to reduce the number of precincts from 42 to 28.

The option, which is on the elections board's website, was presented to the Cherokee County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday by Elections Supervisor Janet Munda.

A public hearing on the proposed change will be held at 7 p.m. Monday Sept. 16 and 9:30 a.m. Monday Oct. 7 at the elections office. The address is 400 East Main Street in downtown Canton. 

The elections board could approve the changes to be implemented for the May 2014 primary for the U.S. Congressional races. 

The change would mean reducing the number of schools used as polling places from 17 to 7.

Furthermore, the change means voter will travel no more than 13.07 miles to get to their designated polling place and the average distance a voter will have to travel is 2.93 miles, Munda said. 

"We’ve worked very diligently on this," Munda added. 

Munda said since 2006, the office has seen more voters in Cherokee take advantage of early voting options, which includes 45 days of voting by mail, 21 days of voting in-person (which includes one Saturday if a federal or statewide candidate is on the ballot) and five locations open one week before Election Day for advance voting.  

Also, the 2012 reapportionment process has resulted in Cherokee having a total of 55 splits in all precincts, meaning voters can live in one precinct, but may not vote for the same elected official as their neighbors. 

For example, voters in the Little River precinct are represented in the Georgia Senate by either Brandon Beach (R-Alpharetta) or John Albers (R-Roswell). 

The change would reduce the number of splits to 39, thus reducing the number of ballots the elections office would need to print.

Cherokee County Chairman Buzz Ahrens asked Munda how much money this would save the office. Munda noted the savings could vary, adding the elections office will still have to have as many machines and poll workers.  

She noted she does not anticipate longer lines or wait times as the elections board was careful to keep in place precincts that have the parking space and room to accommodate more machines and more voters.  

District 1 Commissioner Harry Johnston applauded Munda's office staff and the board for being able to reduce the number of splits and choose polling sites that will accommodate as many voters as possible. 

"(It's) a near miracle that you can make it work," he added.

Tell us: what do you think of the proposal? Will this change where you vote?  

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