May 4, 2012 - Redistricting shakes up June polling places
Title: Redistricting shakes up June polling places
Posted: May 4, 2012
By: Alex George
Calaveras County residents accustomed to voting at their local polling place may be surprised to learn that redistricting has prompted changes to voter precincts.
Redistricting is done every 10 years and lines are redrawn to reflect population changes over the past decade. The state’s Redistricting Commission is made up of 14 community members: five registered Republicans, five registered Democrats and four members who declined to state party affiliations.
This year, redistricting has shifted supervisioral district lines, affecting the number of registered voters within a precinct. According to county Elections Coordinator Becky Andahl, certain alterations were made in order to account for the shift in voter population.
“Two new polling places were added in order for the Elections Department to comply with the law, which states that a voting precinct shall not exceed 1,000 voters,” Andahl said.
The Terrace Plaza in Valley Springs and the Ebbetts Pass Fire Department in Arnold will now serve as voting precincts in order to address the growing number of registered voters in those areas. Additionally, in an effort to improve American Disability Act accessibility, the polling place in Mountain Ranch has been moved to the Mountain Ranch Youth Alliance Center, 7869 Whiskey Slide Road, and San Andreas has moved its polling place to the San Andreas County Library, 1299 Gold Hunter Road.
Meanwhile, Andahl said precincts with fewer than 250 registered voters have been established as mailed ballot precincts for the purpose of the primary election.
“A vote by mail ballot may be returned to the Calaveras County Elections Office on or prior to Election Day or any polling place within Calaveras County on Election Day,” Andahl said. But Mokelumne Hill resident Russell Murawski, who will be required to mail in his ballot this year, is concerned about the veracity of mailing in his vote.
“I don’t trust mail-in ballots, because they have to verify my signature,” Murawski said. “I like carpooling to polling places with some neighbors that don’t have vehicles, so it is like a community activity. I just trust it because I put my vote in the machine and it is right there, I see it.”
While Andahl said she understands while some voters may be skeptical, she confirmed that the signature on each vote-by-mail ballot is verified against the voter’s signature on file.
“If there is a discrepancy with a signature, the Election Department contacts the voter to confirm it is their ballot,” Andahl said.
Currently the county is in the process of creating a web-based viewer which will allow voters to search their address in order to locate their voter precinct and polling place. Until that is complete, a list of all voting locations is accessible on the county’s website election.calaverasgov.us/Elections.aspx.
With 15,732 county residents already voting by mail, Andahl does not believe precinct or polling changes will affect voter turnout. For residents looking for an alternative to mail-in voting, the Elections Department is open normal business hours, Monday to Friday, to assist voters with registration, voting or any other questions they may have. May 7 is the first day the Election Department may legally issue a ballot. May 21 is the last day for voters to change their party or update their voter registration.
© Copyright 2012, Calaveras Enterprise, San Andreas, CA