The U.S. Department of Justice has approved the county’s request to combine precincts and create three voting locations in the county.
Glenda Ferguson, chair of the Dawson County Board of Elections and Registration, said the county received the clearance in early January.
According to Ferguson, pollsters will now vote at one of three locations: East — in the new government center currently under construction near the intersection of Hwy. 53 and Dawson Forest Road; Central — located in downtown Dawsonville at the voter registration office; or West — at the firehouse on Hubbard Road near Big Canoe.
Under the plan, the Dawsonville, Etowah, Purdys and Savannah precincts will vote at the county’s new voter registration office, located at 96 Academy Avenue.
The election office moved last Friday from a location on Memory Lane to the new Academy Avenue office, which is owned by the county and recently renovated from a childcare center.
Ferguson said the new building is easily accessible to the public and has adequate space to prepare for and hold elections.
“The election equipment that is required by the state to be secured is very adequately secured by not only steel bars on the windows, but also a motion sensor alarm system,” she said.
The Blacks, Kilough and Sanford precincts will vote at the new eastside government center, which is currently under construction near the intersection of Dawson Forest Road and Hwy. 53.
Voters in the Amicalola precinct will continue to cast their votes at the firehouse on Hubbard Road, near Big Canoe.
The election board discussed the consolidation in several meetings over the last year and held a public hearing Nov. 6 to give voters an opportunity to comment. There was very little public interest.
The issue emerged after the 2008 general election, when more than 68 percent of voters cast early ballots, slashing poll turnout on Election Day.
Ferguson believes the reduction could save the county more than $32,000 during the 2010 election year.
The next county-wide election will be held on July 20 when, locally, two seats on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners and two seats on the Dawson County Board of Education will be up for grabs.
Absentee voting up to 45 days in advance and early voting from July 12-16 for the primary will be held at the new elections and voter registration office.