The Johnston County Board of Election is merging some voting precincts in order to save money and resources.
That means voters in some parts of the county will have to travel a little farther in order to vote in the Nov. 6 presidential election. The Board of Elections mailed notices to voters in those precincts in late August.
Under the changes, North, South and West Banner precincts will become a single Banner Precinct, with a polling place at the American Legion Building on U.S. 301 north of downtown. North and South Beulah precincts will become Beulah Precinct, with ballots cast at the Kenly Fire Station. East and West Ingrams precincts will be merged into one location at Four Oaks United Methodist Church. And North and South Meadow precincts will be combined into one location at the Meadow Fire Department.
Leigh Anne Price, executive director of the Board of Elections, said the precincts being merged are among the smallest in the county. Even when combined, she said, each new polling will serve fewer than 4,000 voters.
The measure will save the county an estimated $40,000 in equipment and staffing costs, Price said, freeing up money to invest into some of the county’s fastest-growing precincts, like Clayton, Cleveland and Archer Lodge.
“Every year, the cost of elections is going up,” she said. “This allows us to work more (effectively) with what we have.”
The N.C. Board of Elections last month approved Johnston’s request to merge precincts. The county is now awaiting state approval of another request – the addition of an early voting location in Archer Lodge. The polling place would be in vacant office space near Riverwood Elementary School. Price said she hope to have an answer by the end of this month.
Other early-voting locations will be in Clayton, Smithfield and the Cleveland community. Early voting will begin 19 days before the election, and voters who fail to register by Oct. 12 will be able to do so at the early-voting spots.
Addresses for each location are available on the board’s website, johnstonnc.com/joconelections. Voters can reach the board by phone at 919-989-5095.