URBANA, Ohio (WDTN) – Champaign County will be closing and consolidating six polling locations ahead of the May primary.
“I’ve lived in the same place for 52 years. All of a sudden we lost our precinct that was just down the road,” said William Cahoon, of Urbana.
Cahoon says he’s angry that his polling location is now 10 miles away from his home. Cahoon’s old polling location was less than a mile away.
The reduction of polling locations comes after years of back and forth between the county and state.
“We’ve been talking about it for a long time. The state, the Secretary of State at conferences has talked about it,” said Meredith Bodey, the Board of Elections Director in Champaign County.
But why? The answer boils down to lower voter turnout, less volunteers and new machines.
Champaign County wants to make the process more efficient so everyone that votes is 100% confident their vote will not be obstructed in anyway.
Cahoon understands the logistics, but thinks reducing polling locations makes voting less accessible.
“Absolutely it’s going to suppress some voters,” said Cahoon. “We have early voting, we have mail in voting now. It’s all better, but to take away our local polling place, you are trying to push it in the wrong direction.”
Champaign County maintains they are dedicated to making everyone’s vote count.
“We are here. We want you to vote. We give you every opportunity. We are voting now early. If you don’t want to go to the new location, come here.” said Bodey.
The Board of Elections office in Champaign County is located of US 68.