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Update: Part of the county’s 23,000 households to change polling locations

Nelson County Clerk Jeanette Hall Sidebottom addresses Nelson Fiscal Court during its meeting Tuesday morning.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

CLARIFICATION: Nelson County Clerk Jeanette Sidebottom said Wednesday morning that not all 23,438 voting households will have new voting precincts, though the plan remains to reduce the number of polling locations from 24 to 13.

The 23,438 number is the total number of voting households in the county, she explained. This story has been updated to reflect this clarification.

Tuesday, Feb 1, 2022 — A significant number of Nelson County’s registered voters can expect to vote in a different location in this year’s May primary and November general election.

Nelson County Clerk Jeanette Hall Sidebottom told Nelson Fiscal Court Tuesday that the county plans to abandon the past practice of a polling location in each of its 24 precincts.

The county will move from 24 polling locations to 13, with one voting center on Election Day at the main branch of the Nelson County Public Library, where any voter who lives in Nelson County may go to vote.

According to Sidebottom, many of the county’s 23,248 registered voters will go to a new polling location on Election Day. Her office is planning to send postcards to those alert voters who are affected by the changes.

The state board of elections has approved the new polling locations, but she didn’t want to release that information until she meets next week with the county board of elections.

The new polling locations will be larger buildings, she said. “We’re trying to get away from the churches and smaller locations.”

In addition to its role as a voting center on Election Day, the main branch of the public library host the three days of early voting on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday before Election Day.

The magistrates expressed concern about changing the polling places for half the county’s population.

“When you shift half your county’s population to another voting location, its going to confusing,” Magistrate Gary Coulter said.

Sidebottom said that in addition to the postcards, her office will be using local media and social media to spread the word about the polling place changes.

REDISTRICTING. Sidebottom asked Judge Executive Dean Watts about the timeline for the county’s redistrictng, but Watts had no hard-and-fast information as to when that will happen.

Sidebottom revealed that the state has already approved the splitting of four existing precincts in Nelson County due to General Assembly’s splitting of Nelson County into two Congressional Districts.

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