At the request of Clerk of Court Holli Vining, the Webster Parish Police Jury is considering changing the polling place of a few precincts.
During committee meetings Tuesday, Vining told the police jury a few precincts which are housed at the alternative school need to be changed due to physical conditions at the aging facility.
“Precinct 18 was previously at Stewart (Elementary) School,” Vining said. “As you know, the school closed down a few years ago, and at that time we moved 18 to the alternative school.”
According to her figures there are 3,570 voters who cast their ballots at the alternative school, and parking is an issue, she says.
“We have a situation with that,” she said. “Our last election wasn’t that big, and we had some parking problems. In the next two years, we’re looking at a governor’s election and a presidential election.”
She says parking isn’t the only issue. The gymnasium is the area at the school used on election day, and it has its own set of problems. With temperature control issues and insufficient electrical outlets for the voting machines, Vining says it’s not an ideal situation.
She suggested moving the polling place for these precincts to the Forestry Building at the fairgrounds or to the Minden Civic Center.
“I have the largest precinct involved,” Jerri Lee, jury member, said. “I’ve been over there several times and I was really appalled. It was hot. The lighting was not good at all. The difference too, is many of the people in my district who are really voters are elderly. To come up that incline is a problem. I think once we look at it carefully, and whatever is in their best interest is what we want to go for – where they will be comfortable, where they will feel relatively safe.”
“What we’d like to propose is that we move two of these precincts to the Forestry Building,” Vining said. “And if we take precincts 17 and 17a and move them to the civic center, that would allow plenty of parking and space for all those voters.”
Precinct 18 has 1,780 voters and Precinct 21 has 913.
However, some jury members say they don’t have a problem with the alternative school.
Jury member Charlie Odom says he’s voted there since the 1980s, and he doesn’t have a problem with the parking.
“My suggestion is to wait and look at this situation,” he said.
All jury members agreed with Odom and decided to study the situation a little more before making a final decision.