Weighing in on potential precinct reductions, Patsy Harris

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To the Editor:

Some members of the Morgan County Board of Elections propose to cut the number of polling places from 11 to five. At least one of them would like for there to be only one place for voting in the entire county. This might go to a vote at their August meeting.

Saving money was one of the main reasons the Board is looking into cutting polling places, and yet they admitted at their public hearing Thursday night that the county has not asked the Board to cut expenses.

During the presentation of the proposal, many statistics were displayed and costs were estimated. It seemed clear to some of them that cost and simplicity should be the driving force in determining how many polling places are offered to us voters.

While odd-numbered years have no election-related expenses at all unless a special election is called, the elections supervisor said the new five-polling place plan would decrease cost of running a year’s worth of elections by around $25,000. In a county with a $20 million budget, that is .00125 of the budget – 1/8 of 1 percent! That is definitely a small price to pay for striving toward equal access to voting.

One wise attendee told me afterward that some of the audience’s and board members’ statements reminded him of Oscar Wilde’s definition of a cynic – “A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

And the value of equal access to voting is priceless.

Patsy Harris

Buckhead

Via e-mail

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