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It’s time to reduce precincts



Published: Sun, February 17, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

It’s time to reduce precincts

We don’t often encourage the rivalry that exists between Mahoning and Trumbull counties, but we’re willing to make an exception when it comes to reducing voting precincts.

We dare Mahoning County to outdo Trumbull County by not only reducing its number of voting precincts, but by doing it faster and better.

Last week we applauded the Trumbull County Board of Elections in reaching a comprise that will allow a reduction in precincts from 210 to 152. The reduction is impressive, but the compromise required waiting until after the 2014 election, which means Trumbull County won’t start saving money until the 2015 elections.

By the numbers

The need for precinct reduction in Mahoning County is even more acute than in Trumbull County because Mahoning has one of the highest precinct-per-voter ratios in the state. With 273 precincts, Mahoning County has a precinct for every 623 voters. Even with 210 precincts, Trumbull County has one for every 721 voters. With the 2015 reduction, it will have one for every 995 voters. The state average is now 827 voters per precinct, but that number will go up as other counties reduce their number of precincts.

Fewer precincts are needed because early voting and absentee voting mean fewer voters at the polls on Election Day. Reducing precincts makes sense because every precinct costs the county between $1,000 and $1,200 per election. If Mahoning County reduced its precincts from 273 to 200, that would mean a savings of at least $75,000 a year or $750,000 over 10 years.

The board of elections should be aiming to cut the precincts to no more than 200, which would give the county a precinct voter population of 850, only slightly more than the state average and below that of almost every other urban county in the state. Montgomery County (Dayton) gets by with 1,066 voters per precinct, and Summit County (Akron) has 1,235.

This is a case where Mahoning County should be aiming low — that is for the lowest number of precincts with which the county can provide an efficient election. Fewer precincts equals more savings.


Comments

1Knightcap(607 comments)posted 1 year, 2 months ago

Agree with article. There should also be a comparison with the population in Youngstown, say 1973 to 2013. Do we need all these wards and council people. There should be only four wards for each side of town. I'm sure at one point youngstown was over 150,000. Where do we stand today,75,000, if even that. Four council people is all that's needed.

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2One_Who_Stayed(236 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

Unfortunately, Knightcap, city council has the last word on what changes to the city charter get to the ballot so the public can vote on them. This was one of the 17 recommended charter amendments that city council decided to throw out. They actually only allowed 4 to go to the ballot - none of which limited their numbers, power or paychecks in any way.

They did this after burdening about 20 people for a year with researching what amendments would best serve the city. These were people of their choosing that spent tons of time and effort to come up with sensible changes - only to be ignored at the 11th hour by a city council that puts their own needs above and beyond what is right for the city. Paul Drennen of the 6th ward was the only city council member to publicly state (and vote) that all of the amendments should be put on the ballot.

Every other city council member needs to be shown the door in the next election. Not a one of the rest of them is doing even a passable job.

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3One_Who_Stayed(236 comments)posted 1 year, 1 month ago

In case you were interested in the other amendments the summarily threw out vist:

http://youngstowncharter2012.blogspot...

If we allow them to keep doing things like this - we get what we deserve - bad government at great cost.

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