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Officials may consolidate precincts

Local officials are exploring the possibility of consolidating Butler County’s 22 polling locations. (Advocate Staff/Patty Vaughan)

Local officials are exploring the possibility of consolidating Butler County’s 22 polling locations.

Butler County Commission chairman Jesse McWilliams said county officials made the decision to look into consolidating the polls due to the light turnout at several of the polling places during the March 13 election.

“At one polling place we only had 32 people vote,” he said. “We had four people working at the polling place and only 32 people voting there. It’s only about seven miles from another polling place, so we thought we should look into possibily consolidating the two. There may be others we can consolidate.”

According to Butler County Probate Judge Steve Norman, who will chair the committee appointed to research the proposed consolidation, the county’s smallest voting place is Monterey. Only 84 voters are registered at that precinct. It is located approximately nine miles from the Manningham polling place.

“It appears that we could possibly eliminate three or four (polling places) by consolidating,” Norman said.

Norman said the consolidation could also mean fewer poll workers during elections.

The county currently uses 22 inspectors and 116 officials countywide during elections. Inspectors are paid $128 and officials are paid $103 for working elections.

There’s also the cost of renting the machines used to count the votes. Each machine is rented at a cost of $75. The county currently uses 27 machines.

Any changes that are made will have to be approved by the Department of Justice and will not be implemented before the 2014 election cycle.

“There won’t be any changes for the November election,” Norman said. “If we do have changes, it won’t be until the next election cycle.”