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Union County redistricting changes minor for voters

The Union County voting precinct map for 2014. (Provided by the Union County Supervisor of Elections Deborah K. Osborne.)

The Union County voting precinct map for 2014. (Provided by the Union County Supervisor of Elections Deborah K. Osborne.)

A couple of precincts changed or combined

BY VINCENT ALEX BROWN
Times Editor

Now that the redistricting process that started nearly a year ago is complete, for the 2014 elections most voters will go to their same voting precinct according to Union County Supervisor of Elections Deborah K. Osborne.

Only a few were changed in the redistricting process. Precinct numbers were changed to enhance use of the Electronic Voter Identification (EViD) check-in for the 2014 elections. Some precincts were renamed in order for all city precinct numbers to end with ‘A.’

In District 1, 1A includes voters living within the city limits of Lake Butler; 1B includes voters in the county; both 1A and 1B residents will still vote at the Lake Butler Community Center.

In District 2, 2A includes voters living within the city limits of Raiford and 2B includes voters living in the county. Both 2A and 2B residents will vote at the Raiford Community Center.

In District 3, 3A includes voters living within the city limits of Worthington Springs; 3B includes voters living out in the county part of District 3; 3C is the part of District 3 that is actually in the county but close to Lake Butler; 3A and 3B residents will vote at the Worthington Springs Community Center and 3C will vote at the old Suwannee River Economic Council building.

In District 4, 4C includes the county and voters will still vote at the Providence Community Center; 4B is the part of District 4 that is in the county but close to town and 4A is in the Lake Butler city limits; 4A and 4B residents will vote at the old Suwannee River Economic Council building.
In District 4 starting at Sprinkle Field and continuing south to Southwest 11th Street, the whole block was changed from precinct 4C to precinct 5A and voters will now vote at the Lake Butler Community Center. All registered voters in this area will receive a letter explaining the change and a new registration card.

In District 5, 5B includes the old 5A and 5C combined and residents will still vote at Palestine Voting Building on State Road 100 West; 5A includes residents within the city limits of Lake Butler and they will vote at the Lake Butler Community Center; 5C includes part of District 5 right outside the city limits and these residents will also vote at the Lake Butler Community Center.

Redistricting is the process of redrawing the electoral district lines and boundaries for all levels of government including the U.S. House of Representatives, state legislatures and many local government organizations like county commissioners, school boards and city councils in order to equalize district populations. The purpose of redistricting is to review the districts, and where necessary, redraw districts in order to accommodate changes in population.

Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census of its population every 10 years, or a decennial census, to attempt to count every person in the country. Based on the latest census conducted in 2010, the Union County Board of County Commissioners is responsible for reviewing commission districts and making the changes required by law. Specifically, Article VIII, Section 1(e) of the Florida Constitution provides that after each decennial census the board of county commissioners shall divide the county into districts of contiguous territory as nearly equal in population as practicable.

Once the Board of County Commissioners has drawn the district lines they work with the supervisor of elections to alter or create precincts.
At the county commissioners meeting in April last year, Osborne said that she hopes to combine precincts in order to save the county money.
“Election Day turnout is down due to the increase in early and absentee voting,” said Osborne. “Combining precincts will save on printing, poll workers, voting equipment and more.”

All registered voters will be mailed a new voter registration card in March 2014. If your name or address has changed, stop by the Union County Supervisor of Elections office and make the changes before election time.

For any other questions or to determine when you can vote early or absentee, contact the office at 386-496-2236 or visit www.unionflvotes.com.

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