Several towns have asked Clinton County election commissioners to save them money when it comes to voting.
So they have responded with a plan that will consolidate voting districts, reducing the number from 70 to 53.
The Town of Champlain recently passed a resolution accepting that plan, shrinking the number of voting districts in its own area from four to three.
“We were looking at how we can save towns money and still do our job,” said Clinton County Election Commissioner Greg Campbell. “One of the ways we are looking at saving money is consolidating election districts within towns.”
With the new voting machines there is no limitation on the number of voters, leaving plenty of room to consolidate districts and have people voting on fewer machines, he said.
“If you go along with the suggestions you still have the same number of polling places, a total of two, but three districts instead of four,” Campbell said. “This would save Champlain about $3,500.”
If the town kept its districts as is, costs would go up roughly $1,400, especially if other towns reduce their districts.
“What we are proposing to do is take District 1 from the Northway west and combine it with District 3 and take the balance and combine it with District 2,” Campbell said.
District 1 would have a total of 1,038 voters; District 2, 1,080; and District 3, 1,274.
“1 and 2 would be voting at the Civic Center in Rouses Point,” Campbell said.
District 3 would vote at the town offices in Champlain.
The town would go from 17 poll workers to 12 under the change.
“Almost every town has asked if we can cut costs because costs have gone up with the new machines,” Campbell said. “It makes sense to streamline as much as possible.”
The changes have to be made by Feb. 15 in anticipation of the presidential primary in April.
“It becomes incumbent on us to do this sooner rather than later,” Campbell said. “Towns are going to save a fair amount of money by doing it.”
In all, Clinton County would see its voting districts reduced from 70 to 53.
“Black Brook just did a resolution, and we would like to hear from you on whether you are comfortable with this or not,” Campbell said.
Champlain Supervisor Larry Barcomb said the only downside he sees is that some people in the Village of Champlain will have to travel to Rouses Point instead of the town offices in Champlain.
“We understand there will be people not happy with that, but we are trying to save the town money,” Campbell said. “Most of these people won't think twice about jumping in their car because they have an errand to run.”
Ultimately, the town council passed a resolution accepting the recommended changes.
“I support your recommendation,” Barcomb said. “I see no reason not to.”