Voting precincts are being reviewed in St. Landry Parish. Twenty voting precincts in the parish with three hundred or less registered voters are now in question.
“We're in the process now of either merging or consolidating,” said Cheryl Milburn, Registrar of Voters. The fourth year after every census is taken, the state allows parish delegates the opportunity to redesign precincts. Many in review have been through this process before.
“Some of them are already consolidated. Where you got two precincts in one precinct, one building,” said Milburn. Mike Hefner, Chief Demographer, says when it comes to precincts in rural areas, you have to be careful when trying to merge, which means ridding of the precinct completely.
“It would force people to drive to a polling place much further away than where they're currently going. You don't want to disenfranchise the voters that way either. It's kind of a balancing act,” said Hefner. Most of the smaller precincts in review are in the Opelousas and Eunice areas. Hefner also wants to go one step further to see if some areas, a little bit larger than three hundred, may be merged bringing in more money for the parish.
This consolidation or merging of voting precincts could save the parish thousands of dollars in election expenses. “It makes the best use of taxpayers money when you can keep the cost of your elections down,” said Hefner.
Hefner explained he hopes this will be a done deal by May or early June. Once the proposal for this plan is completed, it will go before parish council and then to the Secretary of State for final approval.