By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer
During the Sept. 19 meeting of the Morgan County Board of Elections and Registration (BOER), the board approved precinct boundaries for the new system of seven voting precincts in Morgan County.
The precinct lines, as delineated in the proposal drafted by BOER member John Milliken, cut the county into seven precincts:
(1) All of commission district 1;
(2) All of commission district 3 “north of Hard Labor Creek and west of the center line (extended) of Deerwood;”
(3) All of commission district 2 “west of the center line of Wilson Road and Davis Academy Road to the point where Davis Academy Road touches I-20 expressway;”
(4) The former precinct 5 with the addition of what was precinct 11 within commission district 4;
(5) The areas of the former precinct 3 that are located within commission district 5;
(6) The remainder of commission district 5;
(7) And the remainder of commission districts 2, 3, and 4 not included in the other precincts, casually referred to as the “super-precinct” by Milliken during the meeting.
The “super-precinct” will be the only precinct to cross commission district boundaries and will only require three combination ballots during an election with no irregularities.
BOER members Milliken, Helen Butler and David Moore voted to approve Milliken’s proposal, while only Avery Jackson voted against it.
After the vote, Butler expressed some concerns with the travel distance required for voters living near the county’s southern border that live in the “super-precinct.”
Milliken acknowledged that it appears that voters living near the county line in the “super-precinct” will have to drive an unnecessary distance to get to their polling location within Madison city limits. He noted that the driving distance between the county line and Madison is actually less than the distance they would have to drive to get to the Clacks Chapel voting location.
The board then discussed moving the polling place in from Clacks Chapel closer to the Godfrey area and then reducing the size of the “super-precinct” so that it does not stretch so far south.
The New Enon Baptist Church was mentioned as a possibility for a more central polling location. The matter of moving the polling place to a more central location and redrawing the precinct lines to reduce the size of the “super-precinct” will be discussed during the next BOER meeting.
The location for the polling place in the “super-precinct” was also under discussion. Members of the board expressed interest in using The Hall at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center (MMCC) as the location of the polling place, so Butler and Moore were assigned the task of speaking with the MMCC about that possibility.
Proposed poll workers for the municipal elections were passed by the board with a 2-1 vote. Butler abstained from the vote, and Jackson voted against approving the poll workers.
Laura Butler, president of the Morgan County chapter of the NAACP, expressed her concern that there is a lack of diversity among the approved Rutledge and Bostwick poll workers.
Jackson repeated Butler’s concern and asked BOER Chair George Holt whether there had been any interested black voters to work the polls.
Holt suggested to Jackson at that point that, if he wants more black voters working at the polls, he should go out and recruit them.
Madison City Council Member Michael Naples complained that there will be no Saturday voting for the municipal elections, and he stated that he still does not feel that the new precinct plan fulfills the BOER’s requirement to facilitate voting for all voters in the county, suggesting that the BOER go back to the system of 11 precincts, which was in place before.