County GOP Opposes Plan to Reduce Presidential Primary Voting Locations

Contact: Tom Swatzel (843) 357-1673

GEORGETOWN--The Georgetown County Republican Party has come out against a proposal under consideration by the county board of elections to dramatically reduce the number of polling places, from 34 to just 4, for voters in both the state Republican and Democrat presidential primaries scheduled for early next year.

In a letter to county elections board chairman Billy Altman, County Republican Party Chairman Tom Swatzel said the party "is going on record as opposing this extreme precinct consolidation plan because of its likely negative effect on voter participation in these important primary elections. We ask the board to develop a plan for these primary elections that utilizes all county precincts as polling places, especially since the state legislature has recently approved conducting these elections under the auspices of state government, including all costs."

The plan under consideration by the board of elections would combine the 34 existing county voting precincts into four polling places located at the county high schools- Waccamaw, Georgetown, Andrews and Carvers Bay.

Swatzel said, "In the past the political parties conducted these elections and completely bore all costs, and the expectations were that all county precincts would be open. It is only right and fair that state government, through the actions of the county board of elections be held to those same standards."

The state General Assembly passed legislation in early June that will have the state election commission conduct the presidential primaries for both parties and allocates $2.2 million to pay for the elections. On June 14th Governor Mark Sanford vetoed the legislation, but the veto was overridden by the General Assembly.

The state Republican presidential primary is tentatively slated for sometime in January, while the Democrat primary will be on January 29th.