The Greene County Election Commission unanimously approved slight changes to voting precinct boundaries during its meeting Monday afternoon.
The change in precinct lines affects 675 registered voters according to Administrator of Elections Justin Reaves.
The changes will keep voters from having to travel to different polling places depending on the election year.
During even-numbered calendar years, the Town of Greeneville’s Municipal Election is held in conjunction with State and Federal Primaries and the Greene County General Election. Previously, during these even-numbered years, voters who have been annexed into the Town of Greeneville cast their ballots at their regular polling locations, even if those locations were outside of the Town’s corporate limits.
During odd-numbered calendar years, the Town of Greeneville Municipal Election is not held in conjunction with any other election. Previously, during these odd-numbered years with the stand-alone Greeneville Municipal Election, only polling locations within the Town of Greeneville were open on Election Day. This required voters who have been annexed into the Town of Greeneville to cast their ballot at a different polling location than they used during the county-wide election on even-numbered years.
This somewhat confusing system has now largely been corrected and streamlined with the precinct line changes that were approved Monday.
Greene County Commission redistricting changes approved by the county legislative body at their October meeting allowed the Election Commission to move voters who were casting their ballots at precincts outside the Town of Greeneville to precincts and polling locations within the Town of Greeneville.
The changes will allow these voters to cast their ballot at the same precinct during both county-wide elections in even-numbered calendar years and stand-alone Town of Greeneville Municipal Elections in odd-numbered calendar years.
It will also provide more convenient polling locations for these voters as their new polling locations will be closer to their homes than their previous polling locations.
Voters who are residents of the Town of Greeneville , who were assigned to the Camp Creek, Chuckey-Doak, Debusk, Glenwood, and Ottway precincts will now move to polling locations and precincts within the Town of Greeneville. Some voters assigned to the Doak precinct will also move to a location and precinct within the Town of Greeneville.
The changes will also allow the few voters within the City of Tusculum who were assigned to the Chuckey-Doak precinct to be moved to the Doak precinct with all other City of Tusculum voters.
Although most annexed voters were able to be moved to polling locations within the Town of Greeneville, non-contiguous census blocks did not allow some annexed voters who are residents of the Town of Greeneville to be moved from their polling location at Doak Elementary School to Tusculum View Elementary School.
Precinct boundaries must be set around census blocks delineated by the federally conducted census which the Election Commission does not have the power to move.
Therefore, the Election Commission approved using Doak Elementary School as a polling location during the stand-alone Greeneville Municipal Elections in odd-numbered calendar years so that voters within the Town of Greeneville who live within the Doak precinct will be able to cast their ballots at the same polling locations for every election, no matter the year.
This change also allowed the Election Commission to move other voters within the Town of Greeneville who are currently in the Tusculum View precinct to the Doak precinct. According to Reaves, this move will provide a more convenient polling location for many voters within the Town of Greeneville who are closer by both travel time and distance to Doak Elementary School than they are to Tusculum View Elementary School.
This change will also make the polling locations at Tusculum View Elementary School and Doak Elementary School more similar in size based on the number of registered voters. The Election Commission anticipates that this will alleviate wait times at Tusculum View Elementary during county-wide elections.
The move from Tusculum View to Doak has no impact on voters’ county commission, school board, or constable districts because both Tusculum View and Doak precincts are within the Third County Commission District. These voters will also remain within the Town of Greeneville’s First City Ward.
The voters within the Town of Greeneville who will now vote at Doak Elementary School will receive a ballot containing the Town of Greeneville Municipal Election during the stand-alone Town of Greeneville elections at their new polling location in Doak Elementary School.
This change will have no effect on voters at the Doak precinct who are not residents of the Town of Greeneville, and their ballots will not contain any Town of Greeneville Municipal races.
Residents of the City of Tusculum will continue to be issued a ballot with the City of Tusculum municipal candidates during their city elections, which are held in conjunction with the November General Election.
Notice will be sent to all voters affected by these precinct changes prior to the County Primary Election in May.
Voters will be notified by mail. They will receive a letter explaining the changes, as well as a new Voter Registration Card.