Commissioners of the Logan County Election Commission took formal action during a meeting on July 16 to eliminate the Grayson and Mountain polling precincts.
The decision was made after learning those two precincts were not experiencing the volume necessary to remain open.
Gary Eveld, the Logan County Election Commission chairman, estimated there were fewer than 60 voters at the polling locations which didn’t “justify tying up those machines.”
“We don’t need to continue opening these two polls, tying up the machines, if people aren’t going to vote there, especially with the poor connection in those areas.” These polling locations are close enough to other polls that it shouldn’t be a problem.
Eveld said that the lack of poll workers in those locations increasing the issues with the polls and workers from other areas of the county were sent there.
Grayson voters will now have the option to vote at a polling precinct in Magazine or Booneville. There are three polls within five miles. Mountain voters can choose to vote at Subiaco or Paris.
Peggy Fitzjurls said that Mountain stayed off-line for the majority of the day due to the poor connection and it wasn’t accessible enough for the voters.
All voters in the areas of Grayson and Mountain will receive a letter by mail stating a new voting location.
Closing the polls will virtually have no impact with the 10 new machines that Logan County acquired in June, which will provide more efficiency at the polling precincts and alleviate wait times. Any registered Logan County voter can vote at any polling location due to the electronic polling system.
The commission committee sought permission by the Quorum Court to add 20 machines to the 24 currently in use after voters were waiting a reported 90 minutes to vote. The Quorum Court approved the budget for ten, but the Secretary of State’s office in Little Rock provided the new voting machines without charge to the county through legislature funding specifically for voting machines.
Eveld said part of the wait period issues that voters were experiencing stemmed from voters taking time to read the amendments, which by law, must be available in their entirety.
“That can make a five-minute vote take 10 minutes. The polls are only open 12 hours and if we only have six people vote in an hour, that’s only 72 voters per machine,” said Eveld.
Amendments are also available in paper form at the polls and are printed in newspapers weeks prior to election day and the commissioners are urging voters to read the amendments ahead of time to alleviate extra time at the voting machines.