Cost-Cutting To Affect Polling Sites In St. Lawrence County

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Some St. Lawrence County voters will see longer trips to the polls when they go to cast their ballot in next week's Republican primary for Congressional and U.S. Senate candidates.

That's because the county Board of Elections has consolidated the number of polling places from 61 to 33, leaving one voting site per town plus the City of Ogdensburg - all in an effort to cut costs.

"It depends on how many people are eligible to vote in the primaries. We don't know yet what we'll do for September because we don't know what primaries we'll have until the petitions are filed in July," said Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner Jennie Bacon.

The exact cost of having three primaries in the county in the same year won't be known until September.
 
"We're trying to cut government on our end of things and still make sure that anyone who vote has that opportunity," said Board of Elections GOP Commissioner Tom Nichols.
 
It cost the county close to $125,000 in the last full countywide Democratic and Republican primary, including the costs of ballot printing and election inspectors.

Last year's Conservative primary for Family Court Judge cost the county more than $42,000.

This year, county election officials couldn't avoid three primaries as well as the November general election.
 
Even though the number of polling places has been limited for the primaries, election officials don't believe it will be a huge inconvenience or affect voter turnout.
 
Meanwhile, a new county legislative redistricting plan yet to be formally adopted would not only change legislative boundaries but would also reduce the number of election districts - something that is still be worked on.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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