The Fulton County Board of Elections is making some changes to precincts, including those in the Village of Swanton, but they will not have much effect on county voters.
In several areas, multiple precincts will be combined into one. Metamora and Amboy precincts will now be Amboy/Metamora; Fayette and Gorham will be Gorham/Fayette; Lyons and Royalton will be Royalton/Lyons; Swanton 1 and 2 will be Swanton Fulton; Swanton 3 and 4 will be Swanton Swancreek; Swancreek West 1 and 2 will now just be Swancreek West; and York North and York South will now just be known as York.
Also, in Delta, Precinct 2 will remain the same, but the remainder of the village will be split along the township line. Precinct 1 will be on the Swancreek Township side and Precinct 3 will be on the York Township side.
The changes are in effect now and will be seen in the May 7 special election and in all future elections.
“The discussion about precinct combinations has been going on for quite some time now. With the implementation of electronic pollbooks, and moving to an any line any time check in process, it made precinct combinations more feasible,” Melanie Gilders, Board of Elections director and Elizabeth Stuart, deputy director, said by email. “There are also reduced costs associated with fewer precincts. Lastly, combining precincts reduces duplication in the administration of elections and on election day.”
Combining the precincts reduces the number of precincts that have identical ballots with only a different precinct name.
Fulton County voters shouldn’t notice much of an impact. All registered voters who have not changed their residence will report to the same voting location as before.
“The voter should not see any changes in the way they are processed; in some cases, they may see a reduced number of poll workers and the precinct name that appears on the ballot,” said Gilders.
Despite a reduction in poll workers, the Board of Election has no concern there will be an increase in wait times.
“The number of voters assigned to each location is the same as before and with increased efficiencies by the electronic pollbooks, there were generally more poll workers than were needed,” said Gilders and Stuart. “We still have the flexibility to send additional workers in large turnout elections.”
Combining the precincts brought the number of poll workers in line with the other large precincts in the county, such as Pike, Dover, and Pettisville, which have been operating with four workers each for years.
The combined precincts where there is a village and a township will operate as split precincts when there are village candidates or issues on the ballot.
“Many other precincts are already operating in this manner when there are two school districts in the same precinct. At all other elections, the precinct would only have one ballot style to pick from,” said the election officials. “All of the locations where we combined the village precinct and township precinct into one were already operating in a manner that is consistent with being one precinct. This final push to combine the precincts solidified the changes that have been implemented over the past several years.”
Postcards were sent out last week alerting voters to the change in their precinct name.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010