Following a canvass of Webster Parish voters, the registrar of voters office will move forward with merging precincts 21 and 22.
All the voters in precinct 21 who cast their ballot at the Webster Parish Alternative School will be moved to the Minden Civic Center, to be merged with precinct 22, Melanie Smith, registrar of voters, said.
“We checked the precincts to see how many we have that contain less than 300 active registered voters,” she said during a Webster Parish Police Jury committee meeting Tuesday. “The precincts that have less than 300 active registered voters, we are required to merge them with a larger adjacent precinct. We had nine districts this year, and only one of those precincts is eligible to merge with a larger precinct.”
She says after some discussion with staff at the police jury office, the best option is to move the larger precinct to the civic center, which will alleviate overcrowding at the alternative school.
In order to do this, a demographer will have to redraw the precinct lines and rewrite the descriptions to submit to the state for approval, Smith said.
“If we do not merge these precincts, the police jury will be responsible for the entire cost of the election in those precincts,” she said.
Juror Charles Odom says he feels like there are too many people at the civic center, but it is a better option than at the alternative school. The civic center is air-conditioned, has handicapped parking and is on more level ground for the elderly voters.
“Instead of the precinct at the civic center having to move to another place, this allows them to stay too,” he said.
Earlier this year, the issue came up in police jury committee meetings because the alternative school needs some work and has no air conditioning in its gymnasium. Also, the slope of the parking lot, and sometimes parking, was becoming a problem.
The primary election is October 24, with the following seats up for election: sheriff, clerk of court, tax assessor, coroner, justice of the peace and all seats on the police jury. Doyline residents will also vote for two aldermen.
State seats include governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and forestry, commissioner of insurance and BESE district 4 seat.
Qualifying for local candidates will be at the Webster Parish Clerk of Court Sept. 8 through 10.
Candidates for state senator and representative will qualify with the Louisiana secretary of state.
For additional information on voter registration, elections or becoming a poll worker, visit www.Geauxvote.com or call the Webster Parish Registrar of Voters Office at 377-9272.