Oppose Bannock County's Changes to Voting Precinct Boundary Lines
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Bannock County Commissioner Evan Frasure is proposing an elimination of 24 voting precincts and decreasing the number of polling places in each precinct. He reports that it will save the county "tens of thousands of dollars." The vote for these changes is scheduled for November 14th, 2017. Over 40,000 registered voters in Bannock County will be affected by this change. I need as many Bannock County residents to sign this petition as possible. We oppose this action for the following reasons:
Firstly, this policy will cost the county over $20,000 dollars to implement, because the county must notify everyone of the new boundary lines and their new polling location. This completely defeats the purpose of saving ten thousand dollars and will not result in any actual savings to the county until the following election. Commissioner Frasure insists that this will save costs on ballot printing. The head of the Elections Office has asserted that the new precinct boundaries will still result in multiple ballots being required at many polling locations and will not save the county any money.
Secondly, this policy will eliminate access to polling locations for the elderly and the poor. Polling locations will be dramatically decreased, meaning that it will become difficult for many to access these locations. Many of our voters in this county are only able to walk to polling facilities. Decreasing the number of polling locations will eliminate the ability for those on foot to reach their neighborhood location. Elderly residents that rely on transportation provided to them by their housing facility or family members will have decreased ability to access these locations. One troubling reduction exists in the "Old Town Neighborhood." This is one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of our great city. People that reside in this area are some of the most likely to attend polling locations on foot. With this proposal, 4 precincts will be eliminated. This means people that live in this area will have a more difficult time accessing polling locations, simply because they do not own a vehicle. Reductions in the areas in which Idaho State University students live and work will also cause a similar issue. Many students do not own vehicles or have the funds for public transportation. By allowing this action, you will be preventing many citizens from accessing polling locations and exercising their constitutional rights.
Lastly, this new policy creates issues for hard-working voters across Bannock County. Decreasing the number of polling locations means that there will be longer lines at each polling location, particularly during peak hours such as at noon and after 5:00 pm. This means that voters who have demanding job obligations will not have the time to wait and cast their vote. This proposed action will decrease voter turnout and participation among the working-class. Cutting our voting precincts by almost half will mean longer lines at every single location. There is not a single polling place in Bannock County that will not see negative repercussions from this action. Every voter in Bannock County will have to balance work restrictions and their constitutional right to vote. This is not acceptable.
This action will mean that many individuals are unable to exercise their constitutional right to have their voice heard. Saving a mere ten thousand dollars is not worth depriving even one citizen of their constitutional right to vote. Commissioner Frasure is failing to recognize that this is not an acceptable way to save money. Additionally, Commissioner Frasure has failed to acknowledge that this action opens up the county to costly civil class-action lawsuits. Anyone who is not able to cast their vote as a direct result of this new policy is legally allowed to sue the county for infringement of their constitutional rights. Regardless of the outcome of such potential litigation, the ten thousand dollars that Commissioner Frasure is attempting to save will be overshadowed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Commissioner Frasure, the voters of Bannock County reject your proposal. Saving money at the cost of someone's ability to exercise their constitutional rights is appalling. Commissioner Frasure, Commissioner Bullock, and Commissioner Tovey if you wish to remain in office and keep your constituents from voting you out of office, you will not allow this action to stand.
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