09/16/04 — Voting location moved, other changes being considered for 2005

View Archive

Voting location moved, other changes being considered for 2005

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on September 16, 2004 1:59 PM

The Wayne County Board of Elections has relocated another polling place, the fourth change since the last general election.

The Elections Board decided to move the polling place in Precinct #9 from Rosewood Worship Center on O'Berry Center Road to Westwood United Methodist Church, 130 Short St.

The change was forced because the Rosewood Worship Center is under renovation and could not accommodate the Nov. 2 election.

The new polling place is just off U.S. 70, has plenty of parking, has good access for elderly and disabled voters, and is centrally located in the precinct.

"It's almost a one-for-one tradeoff," Elections Director Gary Sims said today.

Nearly 2,000 cards were mailed this week to registered voters in the precinct. So far, Sims' office hasn't heard any complaints.

"You're always nervous when you move a polling place that you'll get negative feedback," Sims said. But voters seem familiar with Westwood United Methodist Church, he added.

Earlier this year, the Elections Board changed the polling places in three other precincts. Those polling places -- Eureka United Methodist Church (#2), Greenleaf Christian Church (#11) and Wayne County Public Library (#29) -- were used during the July and August primary elections, but Nov. 2 will be their first test during a general election.

Changes in 2005?

State law has prohibited all counties from adjusting precinct lines this year, but Wayne County will be looking at some adjustments next year.

The county has seen a tremendous surge in voter registrations this fall and will likely have more than 60,000 registrants by the elections, Sims said. But those new voters have been concentrated in a few areas, which have inflated a few precincts.

Ideally, each of the county's 30 precincts would have between 1,900 and 2,300 voters. That keeps lines manageable on Election Day, Sims said.

The Elections Board needs to look at areas that have been annexed by municipalities since the last time precinct lines were redrawn. The board will want to avoid having to open some rural precincts for municipal elections, because they have a small number of city residents.

Also, the board will want to look at complaints about some precincts being oddly configured, requiring people to drive long distances to vote.

Sims plans for the Board of Elections to begin looking at precinct lines in January. Municipal elections are scheduled next year.

Anyone with questions about elections may call the board at 731-1411.