Precinct consolidation affects Wood County voters

PARKERSBURG – An estimated 7,700 Wood County voters affected by recent precinct changes will be notified of their new polling place by the beginning of September.

A plan to consolidate Wood County’s 86 voting precincts down to 69 was approved by the county commissioners in May.

“I’m going through the precincts that were merged completely first. For example, Precinct 1 was eliminated and those voters will now go to Precinct 8 at the Day Report Center. Those precincts will be much faster to identify and notify those voters. Then we’ll work on the precincts that were split, that will take longer,” said Wood County Clerk Mark Rhodes.

Rhodes said all voters in the affected precincts will be notified by letter of the change and the location of their new polling place as well as receive a new voter registration card.

“The voters in precincts that were merged will probably be notified first because that process won’t take as long, they should receive their notification possibly by the first of next week,” the clerk said.

The remaining voters are expected to be notified by the first part of September.

The next scheduled election is set for Nov. 23. It’s a special election for the Wood County Schools excess levy.

With an eye toward reducing election costs and increasing the number of precincts accessible to those with disabilities, the consolidation plan was first unveiled for commissioners in April. After a public comment period, the commissioners approved the move.

The changes will not affect any existing lines for any elected officials who run by district which includes the city of Parkersburg council, board of education and county commission. Candidates for council in the cities of Vienna and Williamstown run at large for their seats. The changes made as a result of the consolidation process re permanent.

The last consolidation move came back in 2003 after the 2000 census, when 11 precincts were eliminated at that time.

Officials said costs for pollworkers, voting machines, programming/testing time and ballot costs will be reduced as a result of the changes. Earlier estimates were the consolidation should save an estimated $13,125 in election expenses, in addition to staff time. No cost estimate was available yet for postage costs to mail out the notification letters and new cards.

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Voting Precinct Changes

* Consolidate Precinct 1 (Parkersburg City Building) into Precinct 8, Day Report Center

* Consolidate Precinct 23 (McKinley School) into Precinct 16 (16th Street fire station)

* Precinct 17 (Woodman Hall) would be consolidated into 10 (Good Shepherd Church), and 13 (Jefferson Elementary)

* Precinct 24 (Jefferson) would go into 19 (Emmanuel Baptist Church) and 29 (Parkersburg High School/cafeteria)

* Precinct 31 (VanDevender Middle) into Precincts 32 (Madison Elementary School)) and 34A (VanDevender)

* Precincts 36C (Worthington School/gym) into 36B (Hamilton Middle School/gym)

* Precincts 37B (Parkersburg Catholic) into 37 (Hamilton Middle)

* Precinct 37D (Parkersburg Catholic) into 37A (Criss Elementary)

* Precinct 37C (Worthington) into already consolidated Precincts 37 (Hamilton) and 37A (Criss)

* Precinct 42 (Vienna Library) into 41 (Vienna Library)

* Precinct 44 (Jackson Middle) into 45 (Vienna Elementary/gym)

* Precinct 44A (Vienna Elementary/gym) into Precinct 45A (Vienna Elementary/cafeteria)

* Precinct 46A (Westminster Presbyterian) into 46 (Greenmont School)

* Precinct 51 (Williamstown Elementary) and 52 (Williamstown City Building). New precinct line will follow Highland Avenue to Seventh Street up Williams Avenue and follow Sixth Street to Hunters Run to city limits.

* Precinct 66 (Lauckport Baptist) into 69, (Franklin Elementary)

* Precinct 74A (Franklin) into 74 (Franklin)

* Precinct 87 (Mineral Wells School) and 89 (Mineral Wells School), will adjust precinct lines, Precinct 89 would be enlarged by extending the precinct line to follow Southern Highway to Sugar Camp Road and into Seven Pines Road. The line would follow Chesterville Road to Grassy Run Road and connect back to Elizabeth Pike.