A plan to consolidate the number of Daviess County voting precincts is nearly complete, with the final work expected to be finished by Labor Day. That means the new precinct plan will be in place when voters head to the polls this fall.

Earlier this year, staff members of the Daviess County Clerk's Office began working on a plan to reduce the number of voting precincts. When the process is complete, the county will have 56 voting precincts compared to 85 now.

The change was made possible because technology will allow voters to move quickly at polling places, which reduces the need to have so many precincts.

"We might save a little money in the future" from having to buy fewer voting machines, county Clerk Leslie McCarty said.

Chief Deputy Clerk Richard House said the state is finalizing its work creating computer codes for the new precincts. The state also had to "credit" county residents who voted in the May primary on the state's election books before the precinct changes could be made, House said.

Crediting votes means there is a record of them having voted. The state keeps a five-year record of when voters vote, he said.

The precinct change won't be noticed by most people going to the polls in the coming November election.

"For the majority of our citizens, you will go to the same (polling station) you did before," House said. The difference will be instead of some locations holding more than two or three precincts, most will now only contain one precinct, he said.

No voting place will include more than one state House district. During last year's election, officials found one person had accidentally voted in the 13th District House race while voting in a location that included two House precincts.

The change "will make our work shorter" at the clerk's office, McCarty said. For example, staff will not have to spend as much time delivering voting machines, McCarty said.

Also, fewer precincts means fewer poll workers will be needed on election days, House said.

People who will have new polling places because of plan will be notified by mail in late October. Clerk's office staff will also post signs at the affected polling places on election day.

"We'll probably send out a notice again next year" shortly before the presidential election, House said. Generally, more people vote during presidential elections than vote during gubernatorial elections, he said.

McCarty said voters who have to go to a different polling place shouldn't have to travel far to vote.

"Each of these precincts is in a central location," McCarty said. "... It should be somewhat convenient."

The idea is that any issues created by precinct changes will be discovered during this fall's election, so remedies will be in place when voters go to the polls in 2020.

"This is the test, to make sure we (resolve) any problems," House said.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

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