Will precinct changes in Richmond County affect voter turnout?



News12 at Six o'clock/ Oct. 14, 2013

Augusta,Ga (WRDW)--Polling precincts could be changing for about 14,000 Richmond County voters. The changes affect four voting stations downtown, three in West Augusta and two in South Augusta.

One commissioner is concerned a change that drastic could change the outcome of an election.

Most the proposed changes affect more than 9,000 African Americans, 3,000 Whites and 1,500 others.
"Blacks are disproportionately represented when it comes to the move," said Commissioner Bill Fennoy.

Board of Elections Director Lynn Bailey says her staff crunched the numbers. She says the polls that could be closing had low voter turnout with most hitting the ballot boxes earlier than election day.

"We had a 40 percent turnout on that day, before the first person voted. Forty thousand people had voted ahead of time," she said.

"The NAACP does not like the data when it comes to changes. I don't think the changes being made need to be cleared through the justice department," said Commissioner Fennoy.

Bailey says by closing six they will save around $10,000. However they're opening a new advance voting station that will bring that savings back to around $2,000.

"The board wants to hear everyone's concerns. We want to hear what the problems are," she said.

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