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Vote precincts need trimmed

Lawrence County voters will head to 84 precincts this November when it comes time to cast their ballots.

However, that should change in 2011 if the board of elections is willing to make a commitment to trimming precincts and, in turn, much-needed dollars from the county’s budget.

The board recently announced that it needs more than 300 workers to properly staff the county’s precincts for the general election this year.

At more than $100 per day, per worker, this is a sizable expense and a difficult proposition each year for the board to find qualified workers to meet state requirements.

It makes sense to cut the number of precincts significantly as a way of trimming expenses and streamlining the process.

Will this discourage some from casting their ballots? Possibly, but not likely.

It may mean a little more of a drive for some but for many it would have very little impact.

The City of Ironton has 25 voting precincts, most of which are very close to each other. Many of those could be combined.

Current commissioner Jason Stephens proposed a plan a few years ago to the board. That plan has never been implemented but looked like it made good sense at the time.

We challenge the board of elections to go back and revisit this plan, or implement one of its own, that would increase efficiency and trim the county’s expenses when it comes to staffing elections.

Ohio does not have odd year primaries so the board will have until November of 2011 to make the needed changes.

Hopefully voters will understand that this is a necessary fix that will still allow them the same opportunity for their voice to count.

But it simply doesn’t make sense to continue to seek the staffing to operate so many precincts when the expenses are so high and the voter turnout is typically so low.

Smart consolidation could punch the perfect ticket.