Last Tuesday was Final Time to Vote at Roosevelt, Autumn House
New precinct boundaries that go into effect for the August vote shrink polling places from nine to seven in Ferndale, City Clerk Cherilynn Tallman says.
Last Tuesday's presidential primary marked the last time some residents in the city got to vote at their current polling locations.
The plan shrinks voting districts from nine locations to seven, removing the Roosevelt Primary and Autumn House polling locations and redistributing those voters throughout the new district lines.
While some residents discussed the changes with election workers last week, Ferndale City Clerk Cherilynn Tallman said most seem to understand why the reduction in precincts was necessary.
“I've heard that a lot of the precinct workers received comments,” Tallman said. “I've only heard from one person, who really just wanted an explanation.”
The reason for the precinct changes comes down to a decrease in population and cost savings, Tallman said. “We want to save money wherever possible,” she said. “That is the objective.”
Because the next two elections in August and November are expected to have bigger turnouts, Tallman said the city should be able to continue to use most of its current election workers despite having fewer polling locations.
“The group we have working for us now are excellent,” she said. “I expect to be able to use most of them in the precincts for those two elections.”
Information about the change was available for voters at polling locations last Tuesday, said Joel Petrie, precinct chair at the Kulick Community Center polling location.
"It was a good thing the clerk put those things out there so we're going to have less surprise," Petrie said.
Feedback from residents was good and bad, he said. A few voters will be closer to their new polling locations, but others will have to go farther from home.
"We had some good communication with the voters," Petrie said. The next election might be a tough transition for some voters, he said, but overall it will be a good thing. "There's going to be much better parking, much better access to them to get in and out."
Ferndale resident Tom Gagne said his polling location will change but he understands the reasoning.
"Maybe you can't walk there anymore," he said. "It makes sense to me; we don't need that many precincts."
Gagne said he also understands how hard it is to get election workers. "You're working all day long and by the time it's 8 at night they're just tapped out," he said.
Barbara Hickner, of Ferndale, voted at Roosevelt for the last time Feb. 28. She doesn't have a problem with a new polling location and thinks it's important that the city try to keep expenses down.
"It makes sense to consolidate," Hickner said.