Voting precincts to remain unchanged

There will be no changes in voting precincts with less than 300 active registered voters, Webster Parish Registrar of Voters Melanie Smith said.

“When I stated there is ‘no change,’ what I meant by that statement is the eight precincts that contain less than 300 active registered voters for 2017 are the same precincts that we requested exemptions for in 2016,” she said. “Therefore, voters will not see any changes from 2016 at the polls.”

Webster Parish has eight precincts that contain less than 300 active registered voters, and the police jury unanimously approved precinct survey forms for these precincts in Tuesday’s meeting.

Smith said the purpose of the survey form is to request approval from the Louisiana Secretary of State for one of these exemptions.

“The purpose of the survey form is to inform the Secretary of State’s office of the situation with each precinct and submit a request for approval of one of the three exceptions provided for by law,” Smith said, reiterating, “Again, voters will not see any changes at their polling locations.”

The law states that precincts that don’t meet the requirements are to be merged with an adjacent precinct. However, it allows exceptions under three conditions, she said. One is when it is “necessary to make it more convenient for voters in a geographically isolated and unincorporated area to vote.” The second exception is “when the precinct contains the entire geographical area of an incorporated place.” The third is when “the precinct may not be merged with any adjacent precinct due to voting district boundaries, provided that such a precinct has a consolidated polling location with an adjacent precinct and the number of commissioners for the polling place has been reduced…”

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