Voters rights ruling could impact polls in Hancock
By Dwayne Bremer
Jun 28, 2013, 18:12
A ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court could have an immediate impact on changes in voting precincts in Hancock County.
Earlier this year, the Bay-Waveland School district asked the county if it could find alternative voting locations so that schools would not be interrupted on election days.
Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr informed the board that American Legion Post 139 has agreed to house the North Bay West precinct and the city of Waveland has agreed to house the Waveland West precinct at the fire station on Highway 90.
North Bay West is currently located at Bay High School and Waveland West is located at Waveland Elementary.
Ruhr also suggested the board consider combining the Lakeshore and Clermont Harbor precincts into one.
The changes, however, had to be pre-approved by the U.S. Justice Department because of regulations set forth in the Voters Rights Act.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down several items in the Voters Rights Act, including some instances where pre-approval is needed.
Ruhr said Friday that she believes the ruling may make it easier to change the polling places.
"I'm not sure if the ruling applies to our situation, but I have asked the secretary of state's office for their opinion," Ruhr said.
If the pre-approval requirement is lifted, it would mean the county could save time and money by not having to go through the added process.
There are no county, state, or federal elections scheduled for this year.
The next elections which will use county polling places are the congressional mid-term elections in 2014.
Supervisors have indicated that they may be inclined to change the polling places; however, no official vote has been taken.