Murray County Election Superintendent Larry Sampson announced this week that four polling places in the county will be permanently changed to a new location starting with the Special Election on March 20, 2018.
New polling locations will affect voters only in the precincts of Spring Place, Town, McDonald (Eton) and Carters-Doolittle (Ramhurst).
Voters in the North (Cisco Fire Station), Shuck Pen (Zion Hill Baptist Church), and Southwest (Hwy. 225 South Fire Station) precincts will see no changes.
All voters in the four precincts being moved will receive a new precinct card in the mail prior to the March Special Election. This card is simply to remind voters where to go on Election Day; it cannot be used for ID at the polls.
The moving of the polling places does not in any way affect the precinct lines. This is important for candidates qualifying to run for certain state and local offices.
Here are more details on the four affected precincts:
The Spring Place polling location will move from Spring Place Grammar School to the fellowship hall of the Spring Place United Methodist Church, 731 Hwy. 225 N, Chatsworth, GA.. The church is located approximately one mile north of the Chief Vann House on Highway 225. It is approximately one and one-half miles from the present polling location.
Construction of the new Spring Place School makes access to the old gymnasium unavailable. The move will increase the safety of the students at the school by moving voter traffic away from the school campus, and eliminate the moving of children out of the school gym on Election Day. The facilities at the church will also provide an air-conditioned environment for voters and poll workers and a large parking area which is better laid out than the parking area behind the school.
The Town precinct will move from the main fire station on G. I. Maddox Parkway to the Murray County Recreation Center, Gym #1, 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth The Recreation facility is located approximately 2 miles from old location at the main fire station. It is approximately 2 miles east of the stoplight by Hardees.
One of the great problems we have encountered at the fire station is parking. The parking lot at the fire station was not designed for the volume of cars we sometimes see on Election Day. The Recreation Center has a vast parking lot which will make parking easier for everyone. The Recreation Center will also provide an air-conditioned place for everyone in the warm months and a better heated area in the cold months.
The McDonald polling place will move from the gym at Eton Grammar School to the Murray County Recreation Center, Gym #2, 651 Hyden Tyler Road, Chatsworth. The Recreation Center is located approximately 3½ miles from the stop light at Eton.
The gym at Eton Grammar School is a part of the main school building and this move will remove the security issue of having the public entering the school building without going through the usual check-in process. It will also eliminate the heavy traffic situation of voters and school busses using the same lot in the morning and afternoons. Students will no longer have to be moved out of the gym on Election Day.
Both McDonald and Town will be voting in the same building. They will be in separate gymnasiums and will conduct their precinct voting completely separate from each other.
The Carters-Doolittle polling place will move from the Ramhurst fire station on Old U.S. 411 South to the fellowship hall of Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church, 2309 Old Hwy. 411, Chatsworth. The church is located approximately one tenth of a mile north of the old location at the Ramhurst fire station.
The basic reason for this move is parking. The parking situation at the fire station was becoming hazardous as many voters were forced to park along both sides of the highway. The parking lot at the church will accommodate voters in a much safer manner.
According to Sampson, election officials believe that it is a positive step to move the general voting public out of the schools if possible, and these changes enable that to be done.