Richmond County Board of Election precinct plan raises some concerns

Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 11:26 PM
Last updated 11:35 PM
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A proposed precinct plan that would mean new polling places for about 13,000 Richmond County voters raised some concerns Tues­day about the number of elderly and minority voters affected by the proposal.


Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy said he hoped the Board of Elections would consider the high percentage of minority voters that will have new polling places under the proposal. Before the board gives its final approval, Fennoy said he’d like to see revisions.

“We need to look at this plan and see if we can come up with something different where so many African-Americans aren’t affected by the change,” he said at a public hearing at the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library.

Fennoy has said that about 9,000 of the voters being relocated to new polling places are black. For the first time in decades, the changes won’t be required to have preclearance by the U.S. Department of Justice, after the Supreme Court overruled part of the Voting Rights Act in June. About 10 people attended the meeting Tuesday.

The proposed plan was developed to accommodate voters as more choose to vote before Election Day, said Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey. In the 2012 presidential election, 31,118 voters cast ballots early. The changes include adding an advance voting site at Diamond Lakes Regional Park, for a total of four locations countywide, and consolidating the 50 Election Day sites down to 44.

In response to Fennoy’s complaint, Board of Election secretary L.C. Myles, an appointee of the local Democratic Party, said the changes affect a high number of minorities because Richmond County has a “minority majority.” Minorities were also significantly affected by the 2011 redistricting.

Some concerned about elderly voters affected by the proposed closing of polls at St. John’s Towers and Peabody Apartments, including Augusta NAACP President Charles Smith, said the community would have to help transport elderly and disabled voters to polls.

Bailey said because the Augusta Housing Authority operates Peabody Apartments, transportation could be available.

Despite the Justice Department changes, elections officials said they are maintaining a transparent process. The precinct plan is available on the Board of Elections Web site and public comment is welcome for three more weeks.

The board anticipates voting on the plan, which would effect 2014 elections, in late November or early December, Bailey said.

RELOCATIONS

• Peabody Apartment voters relocated to Crawford Avenue Baptist Church

• St. John’s Towers voters relocated to May Park

• Precinct 113 voters at the Johnson Center split along 15th Street; voters east of 15th Street relocated to Mt. Calvary Baptist Church; voters west of 15th Street relocated to Paine College

• Highland Avenue Fire Station voters relocated to Ashbury UMC

• Precinct 602 relocated from Cokesbury Methodist Church to Burns Memorial UMC; Precinct 205 relocated from Cokesbury Methodist Church to Bernie Ward Community Center

• VFW on Windsor Spring Road voters relocated to county’s new Southside Service Center in shopping center on corner of Rosier and Peach Orchard roads

• Precinct 501 relocated from Burns Church to New Zion Hill Church

• Precinct 510 relocated from Trinity CME Church to New Zion Hill Church

• Precinct 505 relocated from New Life Worship Center to Trinity CME Church

• Precinct 408 relocated from New Life Worship Center to Jamestown Community Center

• Precinct 404 south of Tobacco Road relocated from Wildwood Church to Diamond Lakes Regional Park; Precinct 404 north of Tobacco Road stays at Wildwood Church

• Morgan Road Middle School voters relocated to Wildwood Church

Comments (10) Add comment
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dickworth1
956
Points
dickworth1 10/16/13 - 05:05 am
4
3
Richmond county
Unpublished

If I understand correctly that Bill Fennoy is worried about the minority
voters in Richmond County, then he must be referring to white voters
because the blacks are the majority in Richmond County, exactly what
the supreme court ruled! I believe that the minority whites should have
other minority programs and the majority should not be able to participate. It seems to me that the legal system should check into the programs that were setup for minorities in Richmond county and let the
minority whites into these programs and the majority blacks should be
removed from such.

Little Lamb
56861
Points
Little Lamb 10/16/13 - 08:23 am
1
2
Everybody's a Critic

Commissioner Fennoy is criticizing instead of pitching in to help. There are too many small precincts in Augusta. Staffing those small precincts is wasteful. Combining small precincts into larger ones will save taxpayers money; and everyone still gets to vote.

If someone does not have transportation to the polls, call the NAACP or Lowell Greenbaum. Call a friend. Or, you can do what I do, request an absentee ballot by mail. Sure, it will cost the price of a stamp, but that's less than the gasoline you would spend.

Adam Bomb
363
Points
Adam Bomb 10/16/13 - 08:26 am
3
2
Come on Commissioner Fennoy.

Just about everybody knows that African Americans are not the minority in Richmond County. It's been that way for a while now. Why try to fool the public into thinking that minorities are being hurt by this cost saving plan to reduce spending? Trying to get a racism argument going again? With the possible exception of yourself the current Commission has avoided racist arguments. As a minority Caucasian I resent your effort. Leave the Board of Elections alone and stick to important county business.

Pops
24589
Points
Pops 10/16/13 - 09:01 am
3
2
Does Fennoy think

that these voters are incapable or somehow not bright enough to be able to make their way to a different polling place?

GnipGnop
13758
Points
GnipGnop 10/16/13 - 09:59 am
2
2
They can get to the polls just like everybody else does

What a load of bunk. Why don't you just vote for them Bill?

seenitB4
129038
Points
seenitB4 10/16/13 - 10:10 am
2
2
The minority in the county??

Well my goodness....do you mean to say that a commissioner doesn't know that the white vote is the minority...dang

Wake up Fennoy......keep thinking like yall do now & soon you won't have "them" in the county.

galaxygrl
1450
Points
galaxygrl 10/16/13 - 03:56 pm
1
0
St. John's Tower

There are a lot of senior citizens that live there that get out and vote. How are they going to get them to the polls andback. My mother is on oxygen and there are a lot of people there that aren't as mobile as they once were. Are they going to disenfranchise them?

galaxygrl
1450
Points
galaxygrl 10/16/13 - 03:58 pm
1
0
Pops

A lot of the Seniors at St. John's don't have transportation. Some have cars and there is a bus for trips out in the community but it would still create a hardship getting to May Park.

galaxygrl
1450
Points
galaxygrl 10/16/13 - 04:01 pm
1
0
Adam Bomb

Voting is important business!

allhans
25543
Points
allhans 10/16/13 - 07:42 pm
0
0
There is always absentee

There is always absentee voting for those who actually have the desire to vote....
The Democrat Party has shuttled folks to the polls for years, I doubt they will stop now.

Truth Matters
11317
Points
Truth Matters 10/16/13 - 10:44 pm
0
0
Did Mr. Fennoy jump up on the

Did Mr. Fennoy jump up on the table, throw a chair, scream or throw something? So what did he do to make the reporter and these posters think he was complaining other than ask questions which was the purpose of the meeting?

The reporter could have said, "in response to his 'concern'" rather than "complaint" since there was nothing in the article to support that he was complaining.

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