Originally created 07/25/02

Voter cards to come by mail



They might look like junk mail, but new voter registration precinct cards should stay out of the trash, elections officials warn.

The postcard-size notices are set to start arriving in the mailboxes of more than 106,000 registered Richmond County voters within the next two weeks, said Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey. Although the small, white cards are likely to go the way of pizza coupons and credit card solicitations, they could keep voters from showing up at the wrong place to cast ballots in this year's primary and general elections.

"Our voters need to be on the lookout for it," Ms. Bailey said. "The voters need to make it their business to get educated about where their polling places are."

It's especially important that people pay attention, in part, because nobody is exempt from changes, she said. This year, every voter will be assigned a new House of Representatives district number, and an additional 18,000 will learn they have been assigned to a new polling place.

Anyone who hasn't received the card by mid-August should call the board of elections, Ms. Bailey said.

The changes are the result of redistricting, the process of drawing new political districts to account for shifting population patterns. Redistricting is done every 10 years to coincide with the U.S. census.

In an effort to avoid chaos at the polls, elections officials are trying to let voters know in advance how redistricting has affected their political representation. The top of the new precinct cards reads "New Precinct, Districts, and/or Poll Location Notification."

It lists the precinct number and congressional, state Senate, state House, commission and school board districts. It includes the phone number of the local elections office and a Web site address for the secretary of state's office.

"They need to be aware, there are many changes out there," Ms. Bailey said.

To find out about your new voter registration information, look for a precinct card in the mail during the next two weeks or visit the secretary of state's Web site at www.sos.state.ga.us/elections/locator.

For more information, call the Richmond County Board of Elections at 821-2340.

Reach Heidi Coryell Williams at (706) 823-3215 or heidi.williams@augustachronicle.com.