Madison County will soon have a website dedicated to informing voters about elections and the election process.
County commissioners heard Dec. 6 from board of elections member Leo Smith, who suggested that the county start such a site.
“Voters need to be able to find answers to their questions immediately,” said Smith. “And you do this through a website.”
The site would include an array of election information and allow citizens to see which districts they’re registered in. The site could also be used by local candidates for required state filings.
County technology director Gary Venable said he felt the site could be an asset to the county, so long as the site is updated regularly by the elections office.
Smith requested that the board consider allocating $2,100 to create a site and $25 a month to maintain it. Later, during a lengthy budget work session, the board agreed in principle to the establishment of an elections website, though the budgeting for the site remains to be worked out.
In a separate elections matter Friday morning, Smith informed the commissioners that the board of elections will look at possible consolidation of some of Madison County’s 12 voting precincts. He said maintaining all 12 precinct polling places is not cost effective, given low turnout at some polls. He noted that polling places a number of expenses, such as the cost of election-day workers, maintaining voting machines and paying rent at polling places.
While the number of total precincts could be reduced, Smith pointed out that voting is far more convenient now than in the past. Early voting gives citizens weeks to cast a ballot at the registrar’s office. Likewise, absentee ballots can be requested now for any reason. Citizens used to have to provide a specific purpose for an absentee ballot.
“We’re going to look at the whole picture and map out the county and see where those precincts need to be,” said Smith.