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Polling sites reduced to save towns cash

Clinton County towns have closed a number of polling sites — a move enabled by modern technology and encouraged by cost savings, said Board of Elections Commissioners Susan Castine and Greg Campbell.

Clinton County towns have closed a number of polling sites — a move enabled by modern technology and encouraged by cost savings, said Board of Elections Commissioners Susan Castine and Greg Campbell. Photo by John Grybos.

— Some towns held steady. Clinton only had one, so they couldn’t cut a site. Ellenburg and Dannemora both voted to keep their polling sites because of the size of their townships. It would be too much of a hardship for older citizens to drive from one side of those rural towns to the other, was the consensus at their town board meetings.

Another issue for the board of elections is that the Village of Dannemora covers area represented by two different county legislators, so state law prohibits consolidating those sites.

The board of elections didn’t need the towns’ approval to change polling sites or election districts. They cut election districts from 70 to 53 in the county and polling sites from 41 to 32. That board is vested with the authority to alter those rolls as it sees fit.

But they know that town boards understand their citizens and geography much better than the county, so they asked first. The towns that voted against closing polling sites were allowed to keep them and continue to cover costs.

The Board of Elections is sending out postcards to affected voters to let them know about changes to primary and general election sites. Primaries will likely have fewer polling places than the maximum available.

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