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Change coming to precinct boundary

Affects 700 voters on county’s west side

POSTED: April 11, 2012 4:00 a.m.

Nearly 700 voters in western Dawson County will vote in downtown Dawsonville for future elections.

The shift came about Monday as the local elections board unanimously agreed to align local precincts with the district boundaries for the state House of Representatives.

The legislative districts were redrawn late last year to reflect state population increases indicated in the 2010 census.

Elections board member Charlie Vincent proposed redrawing the precinct boundary in response to the state shifting hundreds of voters from Georgia's District 7 in western Dawson County to District 9.

He said the change, which takes effect with the July 31 primary, was about "convenience, cost and to avoid confusion."

The boundary realignment means all of District 7 will be part of the county's western precinct.

Glenda Ferguson, who chairs the elections panel, said most of the people affected will be pleased with the change.

"It would be easier on the voters," she said. "Because if we don't make the change, poll workers would be asking voters which district they live in and many people just don't know the answer."

Ferguson said several west precinct voters want to vote at the central location because it's closer to their homes. She received no calls or letters of opposition to the proposal.

Board member Tom Foley expressed concern that there may be some voters who live "a stone's throw away from the firehouse" that will have to drive into town to vote at the central precinct.

"There's going to have to be a give and take," Ferguson said.

There was also discussion Monday about closing the west precinct, a topic the board expects would create "a firestorm" among voters in the Big Canoe area.

With the boundary change, just 1,530 registered voters will vote at the west precinct, while the central location would have 5,707 and the east 5,393.

Ferguson suggested the board "get through this year's major elections" and revisit the issue in 2013.

Years ago, the board drew scrutiny and the threat of lawsuit when the idea to close the west precinct arose.

 

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