The Madison County Election Commission met on Jan. 25 to discuss the moving of three voting precincts in the county.
Since they’re all actually in the Jackson city limits, these changes will take effect this year with the municipal elections in May.
All three changes moves precincts out of schools, but one of them moves to another school but with more space.
“We’re trying to get as many precincts as we can out of schools because if schools are open, there’s a safety issue for the students and it’s also difficult to host an election in a facility if students are changing classes and things like that,” said Lori Lott, the Madison County Administrator of Elections. “So we’re doing our best to cut out that situation altogether as much as we can throughout the county.”
The voting precinct that has been voting at Alexander Elementary is moving to Jackson Central-Merry High School.
“While this one stays in a school, JCM has a TV room that right now is open and has a bunch of windows, so there are plenty of outlets for electrical needs for the machines,” Lott said. “It’s a larger space and on the end of the school, so it’s away from most classes.”
The other two are moving totally out of schools and into nearby facilities.
The precinct that’s been at Community Montessori School is moving down the hill to Westwood Community Center.
The precinct that’s been at South Side High School is moving down the road to Meridian Baptist Church, which is adjacent to the Lady Hawks’ softball field but across the road from it.
“The only day when the law requires schools to be closed for elections is in November elections for Presidential and mid-term elections,” Lott said. “So if schools can’t let out or go to virtual school those days, then we need to find elsewhere to hold these elections.”
Lott said added open house events during the state primary and local general elections last August during the first week of school further complicated elections when they created more people coming into the school during the late afternoon and evening hours, which is typically peak time for voting.
Lott said her office is trying to move a couple more precincts at Northeast Middle and Andrew Jackson.
“We’re talking to places for one and hoping to get approval, and we’re searching for the other,” Lott said. “But safety for the students and easing the voting process, this is us trying to do what’s best for everyone.”
The Election Commission’s next meeting is Feb. 23 at the Madison County Finance Complex on Hollywood Drive. Early voting for the municipal elections begins on April 12 and election day is May 2.
Brandon Shields, email@example.com