The city is proposing everyone vote at one location for city elections — the Civic Center at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.
The proposal is scheduled for a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, and by the comments on the city’s Facebook page, there’s already some opposition to the idea.
However, Jackson County’s election guru, Commissioner Danny Glaskox, recommends it. He said it will save the city money and there would be less chance someone will vote in the wrong place.
One voting place is a solution the City Council came up with, City Manager Joe Huffman said, because there was confusion in the last city elections over where to vote. He said City Hall was bombarded with calls. Voters were confused between city and county polling places.
The timing raises concerns ... the mere discussion is likely to cause some confusion.
Former City Councilman Frank Corder
The confusion arose last fall when residents were to vote on the 2 percent tax on restaurant and prepared-food bills. The measure passed after a second round of voting.
For November’s presidential election, residents used the county polling places.
As is stands now, with city elections looming, there are six polling places.
The proposal is to consolidate them into one at the B.E. “Mac” McGinty Civic Center. If the hearings go well Tuesday during the City Council meeting, and there are no objections, the council plans to adopt the ordinance at its meeting March 7 and use the one voting place for the May 2 city primaries, the June 6 general election and for all future city elections, according to the city’s legal notice.
This move would not affect ward lines. For county and national elections, Pascagoula voters would continue to use the county polling places.
If you are unable to attend the public hearing, you may comment on the city’s Facebook page, but that needs to be done by Monday at 5 p.m. to prepare for Tuesday’s council meeting.
“The timing raises concerns,” former Councilman Frank Corder said. “With it being considered so close to this election cycle’s primary and general election days, the mere discussion is likely to cause some confusion.
“Voting should be made more convenient and brought closer to the people.”
Some residents commented that they are afraid the single place would create long lines. Others said that shouldn’t be the case, as long as there are just as many voting machines in the one location, and the city said there would be.
“The only motivation was to make it easier on people trying to cast their ballots,” Huffman told the Sun Herald.
During the last city election, he said, “we were sending out information on a flier that had ‘Vote here for city elections’ on one side and ‘Vote here for county’ on the other, trying to make it clear.”