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Board will seek public input

Merging polls still possible

POSTED: October 21, 2009 4:00 a.m.

Election officials on Monday decided to ask voters what they think about a plan to consolidate the county’s polling places.

  

The plan calls for merging the county’s eight precincts into three, with one site in town, a second on the east side of Ga. 400 and the third near Big Canoe.

  

Charlie Vinson, a member of the Dawson County Board of Elections and Registrations, made the motion for a public hearing in November. Election supervisor Glenda Ferguson and board member Allen Ferg agreed.

  

Board members Spencer Maddox and Tom Foley opposed the measure, citing unfavorable conditions such as no heating and air conditioning and a lack of adequate parking at Fire Station 6 near Big Canoe.

  

“Myself, I am opposed to continually operating in Fire Station 6,” Maddox said.

  

Foley made a subsequent motion to also take the idea of having only two polling places, one at the election office in town and the other on the east side of Ga. 400. That motion failed.

  

Following the public hearing, the board likely will revisit the topic during its December board meeting.

  

The idea of consolidation emerged after last year’s general election, when more than 68 percent of voters casts early ballots, slashing poll turnout on Election Day.

  

Consolidating precincts could save thousands. The county paid poll workers nearly $16,000 for their work on Election Day.

  

In addition to savings, the board is also considering convenience for voters, safety of poll workers and suitability of polling places.

  

The Big Canoe Property Owners Association has threatened to sue if the Hubbard Road precinct outside the gated community is closed.

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