Source: Sherman Publications

New places to cast votes

by Mary Keck

May 30, 2012

When you vote Aug. 7 primary, you may be headed to a new polling place. Instead of an elementary school as you’ve probably done in the past, you’ll likely cast your ballot at a church or library.

Township Clerk Barb Pallotta has renumbered the precincts, a plan she’s hoped to implement for some time because using elementary schools isn’t quite as safe these days. Some Clarkston area schools have closed on election day to help students, parents, and voters avoid vying for parking spaces. Schools have also struggled to keep track of who enters their building.

In contrast, “Churches are ideal,” Pallotta said. “They’re empty during the day, and they have adequate parking.” Using the library as a polling place has similar advantages, and it allows the township to “bring voters back to our own facilities,” Pallotta noted.

Besides increased safety, renumbering the precincts allowed Independence Township to go from 15 to 14 precincts, which offers a cost savings. Each polling place needs inspectors, heavy equipment, signage, and clean up. With fewer precincts, the township can curb costs and make better use of their volunteers.

The last time the polling places were relocated was in 2009. Clerk Pallotta chose to change the precincts at this time because she has a more accurate assessment of the population since the 2010 census.

Each precinct can have a maximum of 2,999 voters. Precinct 1, which encompasses the northeast corner of Independence Township, has the largest number of registered voters at 2,477. Precinct 13 in the southwest has the fewest with 1,187. While the previous precinct map shows the numbers scattered all over the township, the precincts now take on a more orderly ‘S’ shape. Lower numbers (1-4) are located in the northern part of Independence Township whereas higher numbers (10-14) are located in the southern section.

Every voter will receive his or her voter identification card including an updated precinct and voting location along with an informational card in the mail before the next election. If you’d like to know where to cast your ballot before then, check on www.twp.independence.mi.us or contact the clerk’s office.