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Entire county under review for precinct changes

What began as an inquiry into fixing an overpopulated Cottageville precinct is now a full state review on possibly revamping all of the county’s voting precincts.

The Colleton County Board of Elections and Voter Registration Office began working with the county’s Legislative Delegation several months ago to review Cottageville. The town’s major voting precinct is overpopulated, exceeding a state law that limits the number of people who can cast a ballot in one area, according to state election officials. “There are several precincts in the Colleton area that are exceeding the state requirements of 1,500 registered voters per precinct. It’s a 1970’s law that was based on paper ballots, but it’s still a law,” said Will Roberts, program manager for the mapping department of the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office. Roberts is working with county leaders in reviewing all of the county’s voting precincts, and compiling a better way for people to vote.

This review has led county and state leaders to begin taking a very hard look at Colleton County’s pockets of registered voters and precinct dynamics. “We may end up with a Walterboro precinct Number 6,” said Angela Upchurch, director of the county’s board of elections.

“This is big news. We are also being asked to take a look at the Green Pond area and to physically move Walterboro No. 3 away from Walterboro No. 2.” The reason for some of the likely changes includes overcrowding in parking areas for voters, and with too many people voting and campaigning in the same small areas, she said.

The governor would have to sign any changes into law before the process is official, said Roberts. And, before any local changes are made, however, the public will be notified, said Upchurch. When changes do occur, the local county board of elections will be responsible for notifying all voters of any changes, and then sending out new voter registration cards, said Roberts.

According to Roberts, this state review process happens fairly often. “We average four to five counties a year, as far as reviewing voting precincts and making changes,” he said. “It’s all about population changes and how to best accommodate voters.”

 

Heather Walters (517 Posts)