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Supervisors table polling place relocation

Will
Garnett

No citizens addressed the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) during a public hearing that was held on Jan. 8 to hear comments about a proposed polling place change in the Bacon/Saxe District following building and parking issues at the current location.

During its Dec. 11 meeting, supervisors were informed of a new location that is being considered by Charlotte County Electoral Board President Dean Foster.

According to Foster, the electoral board is now recommending the new polling place be located at New Hope Methodist Church (located at 6101 Scuffletown Road, Randolph).

Currently, the Bacon/Saxe voting precinct is located at the Southhall Community Building.
Foster told the BOS that the new location is on Route 746, about 6.3 miles from the current polling place, and is not centrally located in the voting district but, “There is not a better facility in my opinion because of the handicapped accessible.”

During the meeting, Bacon/Saxe District Supervisor Will Garnett spoke up to say that he had talked with around 40 individuals who vote in the district, and many were not in favor of the move.
“Some have expressed that they may no longer vote if the polling place is moved farther than the current location,” said Garnett.

Wylliesburg/Red Oak Supervisor Kay Pierantoni said that she had looked at the Southall Community Building and was concerned due to the space limitations of the building. “We do want to make voting accessible to everyone, “she added.

Due to the lack of public participation at the public hearing, Pierantoni suggested getting more feedback from voters in that district over the next month and urged citizens to make their wishes known.
On a motion by Supervisor Garnett the BOS unanimously tabled the vote on moving the polling until its Feb. 10 meeting.

“This is a tough decision to make since it affects citizens of this district differently depending on location,” said Garnett. “Over the next month, I will make it my mission to speak with more citizens, and I will also make voters aware that they can voice their opinion at the next board meeting.”

Garnett further commented that since the current polling place is in the center of the district, he would like to see it stay at the Southall Community Building. “This location could use some improvements, but most people only visit this location once a year,” he said. “Like a member of the board of elections said, a voter can request a ballot mailed to them. This would work well with voters that think the Saxe polling place is inadequate for their needs.”

According to Charlotte County Voter Registrar Nan Lambert, the Bacon/Saxe District has 1,086 voters with an average turnout between 300 and 400 voters. November’s election saw 531 voters turnout.

Until 2016 Bacon and Saxe were two separate precincts; voters in Bacon voted at Bacon District Elementary School.