Voters in Davidson Township at Lake Norman will have only one polling place to cast ballots in the Oct. 11 primary for a four-year at-large seat on the Mooresville Board of Commissioners.
The Iredell County Board of Elections reduced the number of polling places because it had to trim costs in the tight economy, and turnout has been extremely low in the township in past municipal elections, Director Becky Galliher said.
The turnout at the four Davidson Township polling places in 2007 was 209 and even less in 2009, at 182, according to Board of Elections figures. The number of eligible voters in the four precincts in 2009 was 4,493.
Galliher said the county will save about $1,000 in salaries at each of the three closed precincts Oct. 11.
Dawn Huston, the only candidate from the 28117 ZIP code in the race, said she's disappointed that the only Davidson Township polling place open on Oct. 11 will be at Rocky Mount United Methodist Church on Perth Road.
"So the solution (to low voter turnout) is to make the voting booth even more inaccessible?" Huston asked.
"I am disheartened to see that the Davidson precinct polling places have been reduced from four to one, whereas, the Coddle Creek precinct polling places are all open," Huston said in her email.
"This reduction creates an unfair burden on the voters residing within the Davidson precinct and may influence their decision to vote, especially given that the only polling place open is on Perth, where the voter will need to travel down (N.C.) 150 and up Perth during school and rush-hour traffic, versus voting close to their residence," Huston said.
Huston is running against candidates William Washburn II, James Snyder, Raymond Gordner III, Robert "Skip" Alexander, Bobby Compton and David Roueche. The seat belongs to Miles Atkins, who is running for mayor. Those six other candidates live in the 28115 ZIP code. The top two vote-getters Oct. 11 will square off in the Nov. 8 general election.
Huston said she's trying to reach as many Davidson Township voters as she can with options to voting at the Perth Road polling place.
They can vote through the mail by absentee ballot and early voting at the Board of Elections, 203 Stockton St., Statesville.
To get an absentee ballot, email Galliher at bgalliher.co.iredell.nc.us, call 704-878-3140 or mail the request to 203 Stockton St., Statesville, NC 28677.
Absentee voting by mail for the primary race will be Sept. 12 through Oct. 4. Voters can begin requesting the ballots now.
Early voting at the Board of Elections will be Sept. 22 through Oct. 8.