Elections Board Delays

 

Elections board delays consolidation of some polling places

Thursday, June 24, 2010 02:53 AM
By Barbara Carmen
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

The Franklin County Board of Elections agreed yesterday to combine precincts that already are in the same building. But the four-person board deadlocked along party lines about whether to close other voting spots to consolidate more polling places.

That means Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner will decide the question. The consolidations are designed to save money at a time when fewer people are waiting to go to the polls on Election Day.

"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. If all changes are made, about 14 percent of those precincts will have been consolidated.

The board voted unanimously to merge 123 co-located precincts into 61. That will save the county $198,250 through 2012 because the agency won't have to hire and train as many workers.

The rest of the plan would combine 118 more precincts into 59 locations, which would save $236,000 more through 2012.

Republicans on the elections board supported the change; Democrats opposed it, saying it's too close to the fall election to make the switch.

"It creates a nightmare for us," Elections Director William A. Anthony Jr. told his board members.

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