If you are a voter who still likes to vote at the polls on election day, then you will likely experience a major change in the upcoming primary election in March. At the September 25, 2023 meeting, the Adams County Board of Elections voted to consolidate polling locations throughout the county. The change had already been made on an exploratory basis in Manchester last year.
In order to vote in-person, voters will now need to report to one of four Adams County High Schools on election day to cast their ballot.
New Polling Locations – Where to Vote:
- Peebles Area: Peebles High School Gymnasium, 25719 State Route 41, Peebles. This includes Bratton Township, Locust Grove, Peebles Village, Meigs Township, and Oliver Township.
- Manchester Area: Manchester High School Cafeteria, 130 Wayne Frye Drive, Manchester. Serving Green Township, Manchester United Township, Monroe Township, and Sprigg Township.
- Seaman/Winchester Area: North Adams High School Gymnasium, 96 Green Devil Drive. Includes Seaman Village, Scott Township, Wayne Township, Winchester Village, and Winchester Township.
- West Union Area: West Union High School Gymnasium, 97 Dragon Lair Drive, West Union. For voters in Brush Creek Township, Jefferson Township, Liberty Township, Village of West Union, Tiffin East, and Tiffin West.
“With each year, the election process changes and becomes more demanding,” said Stephanie Lewis, Director of the Adams County Board of Elections. “Counties across the state have had to begin looking at ways to remedy the lack of poll workers and decrease in resources. State and federal guidelines have become much more demanding, and we are at a point where it requires our county to follow suit and try to find ways to better meet those guidelines,” said Lewis.
According to the Board of Elections, the office did a pilot project during the August 2023 special election at Manchester High School. For the fall election, consolidation took place for Monroe and Green Townships.
The board says that there were several deciding factors in making the decision to consolidate voting locations in Adams County, including the ability for taxpayers to use the public school buildings that they pay into, some that may never have the opportunity otherwise. The board asserts that the change also provides a better opportunity for participation by students in the election process, as students may be assigned as poll workers to earn service hours at a familiar location to them. In addition, the transport and chain of custody of election equipment will provide a significant reduction in wear and tear and allow for better security in the transport by reducing the number of locations that equipment is being sent to. Lastly, increased handicapped accessibility and much needed space for privacy were other factors.
Recently, at a community meeting, several voters were frustrated about the news, sharing concerns with the Informer of travel distances and election accessibility, When those concerns were passed on to the board by this newspaper, the board of elections said they realize that this decision does have an impact on some voters. “Unfortunately, we realize that this may cause some voters to travel a further distance than they normally would to their old polling locations. If voters decide they do not want to use the new consolidated locations, they are still eligible to vote absentee beginning February 21st and may have a ballot mailed to their home or vote in our office during absentee voting hours,” said Lewis.
The Adams County Board of Elections will be sending out notices to each registered voter affected by the move, as well as utilizing social media and local media to announce the change to voters.
“We have taken great care and performed quite a bit of research on this matter until the decision could be made with confidence that this was the best way for Adams County to have safe, fair, and accessible elections for everyone in our community,” concluded Lewis.
The Adams County Board of Elections is committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Notices will be sent to registered voters, and updates will be shared through social media and local news outlets.