Redistricting polls makes good sense

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, January 24, 2009

Redistricting Lawrence County’s voting precincts adds up financially, so county leaders shouldn’t allow the politics involved to hinder progress.

Lawrence County Commissioner Jason Stephens presented a plan to the board of elections that he believes would allow the county to save between $20,000 and $40,000 a year, eliminate some long lines at some polls and make the election process more efficient.

The plan would also ease the burden for municipalities, with Ironton saving as much as $11,000 a year.

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Stephens proposed a plan that would reduce the number of precincts from 84 to 56 and redistribute voters a bit to create some balance between some districts that have far more voters than others.

With each polling place required to have four poll workers, the savings would be clear.

But once again, the board of elections seems to be out of touch with what the citizens want and with the economic situation facing the county.

Excuses ranged from not wanting someone to drive a few extra miles to the ridiculous rationale that $20,000 a year isn’t significant enough of a savings to matter.

Sadly, it appears that the true reason for opposition may be tied to politics — as so many things in this county are.

Every precinct gets its own central committeeman or committeewoman from their respective parties. These committees appoint any time there is a vacancy in an office or board, such as the county commission or board of elections.

Each committeeman gets one vote, even if they may represent half as many voters as another.

Cutting districts will create more equal representation so that each individual represents a proportionate number of voters for their political subdivision.

But it would also potentially shift the balance of power on the committees because someone who once dominated may not have the same influence.

Lawrence County must stop doing things “business as usual” and that may take upsetting the balance of power.

We hope the board takes steps to do this.