Waveland, B-W school board may ask for voting precincts to be moved
By Dwayne Bremer
Jan 18, 2013, 17:38
The city of Waveland and the Bay-Waveland School District are considering asking if the current Waveland West voting precinct can be moved to another location.
Waveland Mayor David Garcia said Thursday that the city has drafted a letter to Hancock Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr asking if the county would consider moving the Waveland West precinct from Waveland Elementary to another location.
Waveland holds municipal elections on Coleman Avenue; however, the city has several precincts for county, state, and federal elections.
Voters in the Waveland West area have cast ballots at Waveland Elementary for more than four decades.
"It's a safety issue," Garcia said. "There is a lot of traffic at the school on election days."
Bay-Waveland School Board President Dr. Sherry Ponder said Friday that the idea of moving the precinct was hatched after last November's presidential election.
Ponder said the school board is not demanding that the precinct be moved, but only inquiring if there is a better option.
"This is not something we are trying to do right away," Ponder said. "For a long time, voting at the school was a tradition. It has just become somewhat of a burden holding the election at the school. There are 400 or 500 adults going through the schools on election day and the school has to adjust its entire schedule."
Ponder said the school board also wants see if it is possible to move the North Bay voting precinct, which currently operates at Bay High School.
Moving a voting precinct, however, is not as easy as it may seem.
Ruhr said Friday that the board of supervisors is the ultimate authority on where the voting precincts are located.
She said if a precinct is moved, then another suitable location within the precinct must first be found and then that location would have to be approved by the Justice Department.
Hancock County Attorney Ronnie Artigues, who also serves as the Bay-Waveland School board attorney, said Friday that he was had not been aware that Waveland had sent a letter requesting the move.
Artigues said he will discuss the issue with supervisors and the school board soon.
There are no state or federal elections scheduled until the 2014 congressional mid-term elections.
County-wide elections are not scheduled until 2015.
"We have a lot of time," Ponder said. "This is only a suggestion."