Voters upset over conditions at Garden Isle polling place
By Dwayne Bremer
Jun 3, 2014, 00:52
Several voters in Hancock County's Garden Isle were irate Tuesday over the conditions at their voting precinct which was located in the concession stand of the BAYS soccer complex.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, voters in the Garden Isle precinct had until Tuesday's election cast their ballots at the former government trailer complex on Longfellow Avenue.
Other county precincts have also had to use temporary quarters such as metal buildings and trailers because of the lack of buildings in those areas.
One of the problems with finding a permanent facility in Garden Isle, officials said, is the lack of public buildings there.
Under state law, polling places must be within the precinct.
Last year, the Hancock County Board of Supervisors decided to ask BAYS (Bay Area Youth Soccer) for permission to use the concession stand until the county could find a permanent facility.
Voting on Tuesday was held in an adjacent room of the concession stand.
To get to the voting room, however, voters had to walk through the kitchen of the facility.
Making matters worse, voters said, the parking lot of the facility was muddy because of heavy rain on Monday and Tuesday.
"This is ridiculous," voter Sam Moore said.
Garden Isle encompasses a portion of Bay St. Louis' Ward Six.
Ward Six Councilman Lonnie Falgout said Tuesday that he felt the conditions were "unacceptable."
"It's bad back there," Falgout said. "It's taking away from people's civil rights to vote."
County officials said Tuesday that despite the rain, access to the precinct has not been hindered.
The county has also sent out road department crews to grade the road and ensure it is passable.
Board of Supervisors Vice-President Steve Seymour said Tuesday that he has fielded several complaints and that supervisors will look at relocating the voting precinct prior to the next election.
"We apologize for any inconvenience of the voters," Seymour said. "It's unfortunate that it rained so much in the past two days. We are going to address this issue right away."