10 new voting precincts suggested for Lexington County

tflach@thestate.comJanuary 9, 2013 

— Lexington County election officials are looking at adding 10 precincts and altering others to keep pace with the increase in voters that steady growth is bringing.

The plan outlined to County Council on Tuesday would add precincts in the Red Bank area and around the town of Lexington while shrinking up to five others elsewhere.

More precincts are needed to avert overcrowding that could lead to long waits to cast ballots, county elections director Dean Crepes said.

If approved by lawmakers, the increase in precincts would be the third round from the 75 that existed in 2005.

State Rep. Kenneth Bingham, R-Cayce, predicted changes suggested by county election officials will be approved without problem.

Crepes didn’t identity the precincts likely affected by the changes, saying various plans are still under review.

So far, 16 of the current 92 precincts have more than 2,200 voters – the maximum that Crepes said can be “handled comfortably”– while another nine are near that ceiling.

No extra voting machines beyond the 648 on hand seem necessary even with more precincts, he said.

That is about 30 less than the state standard of one machine per 250 voters.

But it is adequate to handle the usual turnout of about three-fourths of voters, Crepes said. Currently, there are nearly 160,000 voters in the county.

The machines, acquired in 2004, should last for up to six more years before replacement is necessary, Crepes said.

County elections officials run numerous checks and train poll workers before each ballot to avoid problems similar to those that occurred in neighboring Richland County in the Nov. 6 election, Crepes said.

“It is tested as much as it can possibly be,” he said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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