LISBON - A proposed plan to consolidate polling places by the Columbiana County Board of Elections was drafted to impact as few voters as possible, but still would require 2,971 voters to change precincts.
The plan unveiled at this week's board meeting calls for 20 precincts to be consolidated into 10, but half those involve polling places where two precincts already were located, which would have no effect on those voters.
Board Director Adam Booth announced in July they were starting work on a plan to consolidate some of the 103 precincts, after determining 49 served fewer than 700 registered voters. The county average is 685, but state law allows up to 1,400 voters per precinct.
Eliminating a single precinct would save $500 per election alone in salaries paid to the four pollworkers, in addition to about $200 for rent and supplies, bringing the annual savings to $1,400 per precinct.
The proposed plan calls for three precincts to be consolidated in East Liverpool and Salem, two in Wellsville, and one each in Columbiana and St. Clair Township. The following is the breakdown:
- Combine 1B (East Elementary School) and 1C (Trinity Presbyterian Church), serving a combined 1,158 voters. Voting would be combined at the church because East Elementary was demolished earlier this summer.
- Combine 2A and 2B, serving 948 voters. Both of these precincts are located at the First Nazarene Church, and voters would continue to cast ballots there.
- 4B (Pleasant Heights Fire Station) and 4C (Liverpool Township Fire Station West), serving a combined 924 voters. The new voting place would be at the township fire hall.
- Combine 2B (Salem VFW) and 2C (Southeast Friends Church), serving a combined 1,111 voters. The new voting place would be at the church.
- Combine 3B and 3C, serving 911 voters. Both of these precincts are currently located at the high school, and voters would continue to cast ballots there.
- Combine 4B (Holander House) and 4C (Reilly Elementary), serving a combined 1,227 voters. The new voting place would be at Reilly Elementary.
- Combine B (First United Methodist Church) and F (Columbiana Manor Apartments), serving a combined 1,051 voters. The new voting place would be at the church.
St. Clair Township
- Combine Glenmoor and Southwest, serving a combined 1,006 voters. Both already vote at the Glenmoor Presbyterian Church and would continue to do so.
- Combine 2A and 3A, serving a combined 1,026. Both already vote at Village Hall and would continue to do so.
- Combine 4A and 4B, serving a combined 899 voters. Both already vote at the high school and would continue to do so.
Booth said the consolidations, which would reduce the number of precincts to 93, would save at least $10,000 a year.
The board is scheduled to meet 1:30 p.m. Thursday to decide whether to proceed with the consolidation plan as proposed or make changes. If the board decides to act, consolidation of the Glenmoor precinct and 1B/1C precinct in East Liverpool would be put on hold until next year because both have liquor option votes on the ballot in the Nov. 2 election.
Booth said an estimated 12,000 postcards would be needed to advise voters of the changes prior to the election. He estimated the cost of the postcards and postage would run about $3,300.