Board may slash polling places

 

Elections board can't agree on cutting polling places

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:32 AM
Updated: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 04:23 PM
By Barbara Carmen
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The Franklin County Board of Elections today agreed to combine precincts that already were located in the same building, but the four-person board deadlocked along party lines about whether to close some voting spots to consolidate the number of polling places.

That means Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner will decide that question. Both moves are designed to save money and to reflect that the demand on Election Day has fallen in recent years.

"Early voting has been increasingly popular," said Ben Piscitelli, the board's spokesman. "Do you really need as many small precincts?"

Franklin County currently has 865 precincts to serve its 818,983 registered voters. The changes would have consolidated about 14 percent of them.

Mergers would affect 123 co-located precincts, leaving 61 precincts after the change. That would save the county $198,000 through 2012 because the Board of Elections won't have to hire and train separate poll workers for multiple precincts in the same building.

The remaining question would have gotten rid of 59 precincts by combining locations. By downsizing from 118 locations, the county would save $236,000 through 2012.

Republicans on the elections board supported the change; Democrats were opposed to changing voting places during a big election year.

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