Mahoning County elections board talks of reducing voting precincts
By David Skolnick
Also looks at equipment to speed up the vote count
Reduction in number of precincts considered
Mahoning County, which has the lowest average number of voters per precinct among the state’s 13 most-populous counties, could have significantly fewer precincts by the November general election.
Discussion among county board of elections officials and members Monday was preliminary. Efforts to reduce precincts in recent years have fallen short.
The county has 273 voting precincts for its 170,079 registered voters, or 623 voters per precinct. That is a lot fewer than the 12 other most-populous counties, which range from 721 to 1,235 per precinct, and below the state average of 827 per precinct.
The next closest is Trumbull County with 721 registered voters per precinct. That county’s board of elections adopted a plan last month to reduce that to 997 per precinct in 2015, assuming the county’s number of registered voters remains the same. That plan consolidates its 210 precincts into 152.
“The nature of elections has changed with more early voters leading to the number of voters at precincts being reduced,” said Mark Munroe, Mahoning elections board chairman, and head of the county Republican Party.
Munroe suggests cutting 50 to 90 precincts. That would increase the number of voters per precinct to anywhere between 763 and 929.
Director Joyce Kale-Pesta, a Democrat, said she’d like to see about 800 to 850 voters per precinct. That would mean reducing precincts from 273 to between 200 and 213.