New voting precincts possibly coming to Chatham County

New voting precincts possibly coming to Chatham County

CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - The next time some Chatham County voters head to the polls, it could be in a new location.

New precincts may soon bring relief to people in Pooler who stood in crazy long lines during the Georgia governor’s race. Also, some Savannah college students could be able to vote on campus.

The Chatham County Board of Elections says its job is to make voting as efficient as possible. They hope more locations make it easier when you head to the polls.

After Pooler precinct lines were packed last year, Chatham County election supervisor Russell Bridges knew something needed to change.

“We don’t want a repeat of the lines that occurred in the polling places last year, and we certainly don’t want the voters to have to stand in line for two or three hours,” Bridges said.

Bridges says Pooler has had three voting locations for about the last 10 years, but with more people moving into the city, the number of people voting in each precinct is increasing too. Bridges proposed, and City Council is considering adding two more ahead of November’s municipal election.

“These actions are essentially to add new voting locations to spread those voters out and to do it in a logical plan that can balance the distribution of the voters and to absorb the growth that’s still ahead of Pooler,” he said.

Council members will consider the move at their July 1 meeting.

In Savannah, board of elections member Antwan Lang wants to make it easier for college students to cast a ballot. He’d like to add precincts at Savannah State University and Georgia Southern’s Armstong Campus for students.

Right now, students at both colleges have to go off-campus polling places, but at Savannah State, students may not be voting in the same elections, depending on where they live.

On this map from the Board of Elections, you can see the university in pink, and red dividing line cutting through it.

Students living on the left side vote in the city of Savannah, and those on right - where most of the registered student voters live - cast ballots in unincorporated Chatham County.

“So when you’re having a conversation with your classmate, ‘Hey, I was able to vote for the mayor,’ and your other classmate says, ‘well wait a second, I didn’t get to; I didn’t see that option.’ We don’t want to have that type of confusion," Lang said.

Lang hopes to present this idea formally to Board of Election members at their next meeting.

Once Lang presents the idea, there would be a study to figure out what works best for the voters. They’ll also see if the merits of new precincts outweigh the logistics, like staffing and managing them.

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