Precinct change notification complete

PARKERSBURG – An estimated 7,700 Wood County voters affected by recent precinct changes have been notified by mail of their new polling place.

Deputy Clerk Melody Ross said the last of the notification letters and new voter registration cards were mailed out by the end of September.

Wood County’s 86 voting precincts were pared down to 69.

The changes were approved by the county commission in May.

Any voters who reside in the affected precincts who have not been notified, need to contact the voter registration office on the fourth floor of the courthouse, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 304-424-1860.

Officials said costs for pollworkers, voting machines, programming/testing time and ballot costs will be reduced as a result of the changes, saving the county an estimated $13,125 annually in election expenses, in addition to staff time.

The one-time cost to notify the affected voters cost was approximately $2,800.

“We are working on notification to the pollworkers now,” Ross said.

The clerk’s office has received some of the notification letters back marked insufficient address, moved, forwarding order has expired.

“We got quite a few of the letters back, so we would love to hear from those individuals so we can update their registration with their new address,” Ross said.

The process wasn’t without some hiccups.

Some errors were made during the processing of Precinct 31, one of the affected precincts.

“We have identified those issues, corrected the error and notified the affected voters,” Ross said.

Precinct 31 was geographically split in half and some of the voters were assigned to Precinct 32, and others to 34A, in some cases members of the same household may have been assigned to different precincts during the initial process.

Ross said out of the 7,700 affected voters, that was about 100 that were part of the Precinct 31 issue.

“We had to process through all of the affected voters, it was difficult, and a manual mistake was made, but it’s been taken care of, everyone has been notified and all the voters have their new, corrected precinct information,” she said.

The first time the permanent changes will be in effect is the special Nov. 23 levy election for the Wood County Schools.

Ross said signs have also been made that will be placed at any polling places that have been closed redirecting voters to their new precinct in case there are any lingering questions.

“We still expect there will still be some problems at the first primary election, but hopefully not too many,” Ross noted.

The changes will not affect any existing lines for any elected officials who run by district which includes the city of Parkersburg council, board of education and county commission.

Candidates for council in the cities of Vienna and Williamstown run at large for their seats.

The changes made as a result of the consolidation process re permanent.

The last consolidation move came back in 2003 after the 2000 census, when 11 precincts were eliminated at that time.

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Voting Precinct Changes

* Consolidate Precinct 1 (Parkersburg City Building) into Precinct 8, Day Report Center

* Consolidate Precinct 23 (McKinley School) into Precinct 16 (16th Street fire station)

* Precinct 17 (Woodman Hall) would be consolidated into 10 (Good Shepherd Church), and 13 (Jefferson Elementary)

* Precinct 24 (Jefferson) would go into 19 (Emmanuel Baptist Church) and 29 (Parkersburg High School/cafeteria)

* Precinct 31 (VanDevender Middle) into Precincts 32 (Madison Elementary School)) and 34A (VanDevender)

* Precincts 36C (Worthington School/gym) into 36B (Hamilton Middle School/gym)

* Precincts 37B (Parkersburg Catholic) into 37 (Hamilton Middle)

* Precinct 37D (Parkersburg Catholic) into 37A (Criss Elementary)

* Precinct 37C (Worthington) into already consolidated Precincts 37 (Hamilton) and 37A (Criss)

* Precinct 42 (Vienna Library) into 41 (Vienna Library)

* Precinct 44 (Jackson Middle) into 45 (Vienna Elementary/gym)

* Precinct 44A (Vienna Elementary/gym) into Precinct 45A (Vienna Elementary/cafeteria)

* Precinct 46A (Westminster Presbyterian) into 46 (Greenmont School)

* Precinct 51 (Williamstown Elementary) and 52 (Williamstown City Building). New precinct line will follow Highland Avenue to Seventh Street up Williams Avenue and follow Sixth Street to Hunters Run to city limits.

* Precinct 66 (Lauckport Baptist) into 69, (Franklin Elementary)

* Precinct 74A (Franklin) into 74 (Franklin)

* Precinct 87 (Mineral Wells School) and 89 (Mineral Wells School), will adjust precinct lines, Precinct 89 would be enlarged by extending the precinct line to follow Southern Highway to Sugar Camp Road and into Seven Pines Road.