Local democrats say ‘no’ to Board of Elections’ proposed voter precinct closings
Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Elaine Lucas (D) says she, along with some members of the local Democratic party, are against the county’s Board of Elections’ proposal to reduce the number of polling precincts from 40 to 26.
“I’m presenting a resolution to my colleague that calls for opposition to the decrease in polling places and then it also calls for the addition of a satellite polling location for early voting,” says Lucas.
Election officials tell 41NBC, they’re getting rid of some of the locations, so they can save money.
Macon-Bibb County Board of Elections Senior technician, Larry Smith, explains they were not trying to relocate any voters. He adds, none of the proposed precincts were more than 2.8-miles in any direction from the old precincts.
“All we’re doing is taking some small precincts like, Godfrey three, Godfrey two, and Godfrey five and combining them into one precinct,” continues Smith.
Some are concerned that changing the polling sites will deter some democratic voters from casting ballots.
“In those precincts that are being shifted the percentages who vote democratic are very, very high,” argues Lucas. “But there’s little shifting in those precincts where the republican votes were taken. I think there’s something wrong with that.”
Community activist, Henry Ficklin, says the proposed move to close the precincts is another example of trying to prevent some Bibb County voters from going to voting polls.
“This is just another step to reduce democratic turn out in this community the non-partisan was also a slap and so now we’re seeing the second slap come along,” comments Ficklin.
According to former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis, the proposal to reduce the number of precincts is not in the best interest of residents.
“We have a low voter turn out in the county and city,” recalls Ellis. “We should do everything in our power to increase voter turn out and closing polling places will not accomplish that.”
Macon-Bibb Board of Elections Vice Chairman, Herbert Spangler, defends the decision to close nearly two dozen locations.
“I don’t have any problem with it, the polling places that we are combining are real close together and they don’t really, have that many voters in each one of them,” says Spangler. “So I don’t really see a problem.”
We also reached out to all of the Republican representatives on the Macon-Bibb Board of Commissioners for a comment on this issue. Either they did not want to talk with us, or they did not return our calls.