Commissioners give a voice to the people with precinct poll surveys

GRAFTON—The Taylor County Commission met Tuesday evening, and one of the main items on the agenda was the opening of the recently returned precinct poll surveys.

In July 2016, the commissioners met and discussed the movement of polling places in the Flemington area, for Precincts 17 and 19.

It was decided at that meeting to change the location for Precinct 17 from Flemington Elementary School to the Flemington Community Building, and that Precinct 19 voters would report to the Flemington Community Building instead of Bailey United Methodist Church.

Following the decision and the next election, voters in those precincts voiced their concerns with the changes, sighting parking issues and problems of some individuals being able to get into the polling places. The commission was left with a conundrum—stick with the changes they made or move the polling places back to their original locations.

In a true act of democracy, and to show the citizens that their input was important to the commissioners, it was decided that following the special election held on October 7, 2017, polling place surveys would be sent out to all the registered voters in those precincts to allow them to have some say.

“We had a good response back from the voters out there,” commented Taylor County Clerk Georgianna Thompson. “I’d say we had about a 40 percent return on the surveys.”

On Tuesday, commissioners Orville Wright, Rusty Efaw and Tony Veltri recorded tally marks as Thompson opened the sealed envelopes and read the responses from the surveys.

“This was done as a courtesy to the residents in those areas, because by state code, it is the county commission who sets polling place locations for the county,” she explained. “These surveys will be taken into consideration when determining the voting sites for those precincts.”

When all the votes had been recorded, the majority of the voters in Precinct 17 decided that they would prefer the polls to be housed in the Flemington Elementary School. Precinct 19 residents declared that the majority of voters would prefer to visit Bailey United Methodist Church to cast their vote during an election.

Flemington Elementary School won with nearly double the votes for the Flemington Community Building, with 111 total votes. Bailey United Methodist Church was selected as Precinct 19’s polling place bringing in a 91/71 vote against the community building.

The Taylor County Commissioners decided amongst themselves to allow the survey results to stand for themselves.

“I think we should let the votes stand for themselves,” expressed Commission President Orville Wright. “They people have decided, and we should go with their decision.”

“I agree, we would like the voters in those areas know that this was their decision, and we are going to go along with their choice,” shared Efaw.

The changes will not be finalized until the Taylor County Commissioners prepare and sign an order during their next regularly scheduled meeting on January 16.