“In an effort to provide more efficient and cost-effective voting,” four Batesville area precincts have been consolidated into two, said Ripley County Clerk Mary Ann McCoy. No other county precincts have been changed.
Laughery Ward 3 Precinct 1 and Laughery Ward 3 Precinct 2 have been combined into one, called Laughery 3-1. Voters will continue to cast ballots at the Batesville Memorial Public Library.
Likewise, Laughery Ward 1 Precinct 1 and Laughery Ward 1 Precinct 2 have merged into another, Laughery 1-1. Residents of those areas will still vote at the Batesville Knights of Columbus Hall.
The decisions were made earlier this year by employees in McCoy’s office and the county election board. It was easier to go through the long consolidation processes with the Indiana Election Commission in 2013, a nonelection year, she pointed out.
The clerk recalled, “We had to advertise it in the newspaper and go in front of the commissioners to get their OK.” Then IEC co-directors Trent Deckard and J. Bradley King and employee Michelle Brzyck helped county officials complete reams of paperwork. After no objections were filed, notices about the precinct consolidations were mailed to registered voters several weeks ago.
Five workers at each precinct polling place (one inspector, two judges and two clerks) get paid during each election. “We’re going to save money” because of fewer workers and a smaller number of different ballots. “I can’t tell you” an exact amount.
In addition to conserving dollars, she noted, “We were having a hard time getting precinct workers,” especially in the smallest spots. “So many people are working” so they don’t have time to help out at polling places. “It’s a long day and they don’t get paid that good. They start out at 5 a.m. and work the whole day until they’re done,” usually a few hours after 6 p.m., when polls close, because they must transport and turn in ballots and equipment.