Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 7, 2013

McDowell County to reduce number of voting precincts

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

WELCH — In order to comply with state law, McDowell County is reducing its number of voting precincts from 43 to 37 and reducing the number of poll workers needed during elections.

“It would not be something we would want to do, but we’re required to do it under state law,” County Clerk Don Hicks said of the precincts reduction.

If the number of voters a precinct serves is less than 200, it must be combined with another precinct, Hicks said. If the voter population is more than 700, then a precinct must be split. The one challenge during the change was ensuring that consolidating precincts does not impact delegate districts.

“The biggest problem is when we have different delegate districts, “ Hicks said. “We want to be sure we don’t put a precinct in a delegate district it shouldn’t be in. We want to make sure everything is right. We doubled checked everything to make sure no delegate district was affected by the precincts we combined.”

Reducing the number of precincts does reduce the amount of money that must be spent during an election, he said.

“Naturally, any time you reduce precincts, you end up saving on poll workers,” Hicks said. “It’s not that we want to reduce the number of precincts, but we’re required by law to do so.”

The precinct changes will be in effect during the next election. Precincts that were changed after they were combined include the following:

In the North Elkins District, the precinct including Crumpler, Ashland, Worth, McDowell and Wolfe will have its polling place at Northfork City Hall. The precinct with Elbert, Filbert and Gary will use the Gary Community Room as a polling place. The precinct with Anawalt and Jenkinjones will use the Anawalt Fire Department.

In the Sandy River District, the precinct with the Bull Creek, Mohawk and Isaban communities will take votes at Denver Hunt’s Old Country Store.

In the Big Creek District, the precinct with Squire, Newhall, Cucumber, Bishop, Horsepen and Brewsterdale will use the Old Squire Church. The precinct with the communities of Bartley, English, Atwell and Yukon will have its polling place at Trinity Assembly Church.