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Officials: Election Headaches, Extra Costs Avoided Under Plan

Redistricting brought major changes to Durham's political scene but officials have come up with a plan they say avoids a costly and confusing scenario for voters.

Officials: Election Headaches, Extra Costs Avoided Under Plan


Following months of uncertainty over the shift of Durham's political landscape, the town's voting officials have a plan to deal with last year's redistricting.

On Monday night, the town's Registrars of Voters announced a proposal that would allow all of the town's voters to cast their ballots in the same polling place - Korn School.

The plan, which requires approval by the Board of Selectmen, combines the town's newly aligned House and Senate districts, as well as the Congressional District into three voting districts.

Those three voting districts will share the school on election day.

"Everybody's trained to go to Korn [School]. We've gone through the different scenarios and we think we can do it," said Karen Cheyney, the town's Democratic Registrar.

Cheyney and Republican Registrar Pam Lucashu have spent months making sense of the submitted by the legislature’s Reapportionment Commission, which split Durham among the House’s 86th and 101st districts and the Senate’s 34th and 12th districts. Durham was moved entirely into the 3rd Congressional District.

The changes could have proved a costly problem for taxpayers and a headache for voters if the town were forced to open multiple polling locations.

"It will make running the elections so much cheaper when we don't have to have three separate elections that need extra workers," explained Cheyney, who said officials had considered opening Brewster School as a second polling place.

"With your approval this will make the voters experience much more simple," said Lucashu. "The voter will go into the same polling place and [the voter] be directed to the correct line."

Cheney said about 100 residents who live in an area she called "extremely complicated" due to the overlapping districts will receive a letter in the mail from the town.

Detailed maps of voting districts can be found on the state's website or at the Durham Public Library. A street by street detail of the districts will be available soon on the town's website.

Cheyney and Lucashu said the town is preparing for the Aug. 8 presidential primary and has been working to borrow voting machines from other towns.

First Selectman Laura Francis appeared encouraged by the proposal and said the board would likely vote on it at their next meeting.

"Ten years ago we thought it was the end of the world but we got through it," Francis said.

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