• Cydney Thompson, Northeast Arkansas News

Craighead County Election Commission Makes Changes to Polling Locations


Big changes are coming to the way people in Craighead County will vote in the next election.

Some polling centers are moving – and some are closing altogether.

This change is to process votes better when it comes to election days by combining polling centers.

The changes will allow people to vote at any center regardless of the poll he or she is assigned based on their residence

“I’ve been voting since I was 18. I can remember standing in line for an hour and a half to vote and many of the voters here in our county will remember that same experience. What we have now with the polling centers you’ll have many more machines that will be available at just regular poll verses a polling center we’ll have more machines, more poll workers to help you and so, you’ll be able to get in and out faster,” said Jeannette Robertson

Polling centers have been around for a long time.

It allows a voter to come into any location where there are a polling center and vote.

“If you have a specific polling site, let’s say you’re supposed to go to polling #9 and you show up at poll number 11 because you’ve forgotten which polling site you’re supposed to be at.

You’re not going to be allowed to vote at poll number 11,” said Robertson.

The change was enabled due to the county purchasing new voting equipment that has the capacity to hold a large number of voter’s information and ballots.

“Try to increase the efficiency and ease of voting to allow voters to come in and get out at inconvenient time and location of their choosing. And the advantage of a polling center is again, you do not have to go to a specific poll you are assigned to, based on where you live,” said Robertson.

The following locations have changed.

ASU arena and Nettleton Baptist are combined, cash and Egypt are combined, and Brookland and Greensboro are combined.

Southridge, Philadelphia, and Lester fire departments are closing.

Directly from the press release:

Jonesboro ASU Arena & Nettleton Baptist - Consolidation These polling centers are duplicate centers for Ward 3. Combining these polling centers at the First National Bank Arena will help use county funds responsibly. o Nettleton Baptist voters could drive to the First National Bank Arena (7 miles) or choose Brookland Baptist which is only 1 mile away. 752 voters (6.7% of voters) used Nettleton Baptist in the 2018 General Election; 352 (7.4%) in the 2018 Primary.

Southridge Fire Department (outside city limits) - Closing 421 voters (3.8% of voters) used Southridge in the 2018 General Election; 171 (3.6%) in the 2018 Primary. o Forest Home Church and Valley View Church are both 6 miles away.

Philadelphia Fire Station (outside city limits) – Closing 314 voters (2.8% of voters) used Philadelphia for the 2018 General Election; 170 (3.6%) in the 2018 Primary. o These voters can be easily vote at Brookland which is only 3 miles from Philadelphia.

Brookland & Greensboro - Consolidation  In Brookland, we are combining the Greensboro Community Center and Brookland City Hall polling centers into one polling center. These polling centers are only 4.7 miles from each other.  621 voters (5.5% of voters) used Brookland during the 2018 General Election; 333 (7%) in the 2018 Primary. 365 voters (3.3% of voters) used Greensboro during the 2018 General Election; 154 (3.2%) in the 2018 Primary.  Brookland Baptist Church, 200 N. Oak, Brookland will become the new polling center to accommodate Brookland voters.

Cash/Egypt - Consolidation  98 voters (.87% of voters) used the Cash polling center in the 2018 General Election; 54 (1.1%) in the 2018 Primary. Egypt voted 36 voters (.32% of voters) in the 2018 General Election; 22 (.46%) in the 2018 Primary. We have very capable workers in Cash and Egypt. They will be able to handle the increase in voters that would come with combining them.

Lester Fire Department – Closing 34 voters (.71% of voters) used Lester in the 2018 Primary, 83 (.6% of total voters) voted at Lester in the 2016 General Election, 67 (.6% of voters) in the 2016 Primary.  This location does not have a reliable cell signal which is necessary for the tablets to communicate during Election Day.  The closest location is the Lake City Courthouse (5.7 miles).

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