Thursday, June 29, 2023–10:55 a.m.
-John Bailey, Rome News-Tribune-
The Floyd County Board of Elections is seeking public input into proposed changes to the voting precinct map that would consolidate a number of precincts as well as have polling locations where both city and county voters will cast ballots.
While that may seem confusing, Floyd County Elections Supervisor Akyn Trudnak said having municipal and county voters casting ballots in the same location is the norm in other parts of the state.
Ballots are determined using the voter’s physical address, she said, so city voters going into a largely county precinct would still get a ballot with the City Commission races and SPLOST in November.
The proposal was crafted after looking at demographic changes in Floyd County as well as with an eye to save taxpayer dollars.
Some of the proposed changes have come through “natural selection,” Trudnak said, while others are an effort to remove city or county islands located in a larger precinct.
For instance, she said, currently both the Garden Lakes and Mount Alto North precincts vote at Anthony Recreation Center, so it makes sense to combine the two.
“By law we have to have three poll workers at every polling location,” Trudnak said. “We always go above and beyond that, but when you have two polling locations in the same building, you now have a minimum of six (poll workers) there.”
That’s the same for precincts like Barkers and Vanns Valley, which are at the same VFW location. Removing the extra precinct allows for less confusion when voters arrive to cast their ballots.
“It’s a natural progression,” she said.
For city residents who are an island within another precinct, she said, it will save driving time. For example, under the proposal, Berry Forrest area voters who are city residents in and near the Stonebridge neighborhoods would vote at Glenwood instead of at Town Rome.
“Overall, it’s saving money on taxes. It’s saving voter driving distance, poll worker pay… We’re going from 25 managers to 19 managers,” she said.
Under the proposal, several county precincts will merge wholesale. Armuchee will merge with Texas Valley to create the New Armuchee precinct. Vann’s Valley and Barkers will merge, creating a South Floyd precinct.
Other changes will merge county and city precincts. For instance, voters in the Berry Forrest area alongside city voters on U.S. 27 north of the loop would be included in the Glenwood precinct. Portions of Mount Alto North will be merged with Town Rome and others will merge into the Garden Lakes precinct.
In North Rome, Riverside will be merged with the North Rome precinct.
Voters in the Mount Alto South precinct will merge with Alto Park and others will merge into the South Rome precinct.
The West Lindale and East Lindale precincts will combine to create one Lindale precinct. However, an eastern portion of the East Lindale precinct will merge with the East Rome precinct instead.
The proposed precinct map was reviewed by a committee consisting of one member of the local Republican Party, Layla Shipman, as well as one member of the Democratic Party, Corey Townsend, as well as Trudnak.
The Floyd County Elections Board will take a vote on the proposed changes on Aug. 1, and the changes, if approved, will be in effect for the November election. Any person wishing to object to the proposed precinct modification must file their objection with the board prior to the Aug. 1 vote.
There will be two public hearings at the Floyd County Elections Office at 18 E. 12th St. The first will be held on July 6 at 5:30 p.m. and the second will be on July 13 at 5:30 p.m.
This story is possible because of a news-sharing agreement with the Rome News-Tribune. More information can be found at northwestgeorgianews.com.