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Towns offer new polling locations
Many registered voters in Red Oak and Castalia have received notices of new polling places for the upcoming elections. According to Nash County Board of Elections Director John Kearney, the decision to change the polling sites was made out of concerns for convenience and safety. All other polling sites are unaffected.

In the past, Kearney said, the Red Oak Middle School was used as a polling site for Red Oak area citizens. However, election officials noted that voters encountered severe traffic problems at times when parents were delivering or picking up students. Parking was also very limited during school hours, Kearney said.

The new polling site will be Calvary Chapel Church located at 3761 Red Oak-Battleboro Road. At  Red Oak’s last regular business meeting on April 5th, Red Oak commissioners expressed concerns about the change in venue. Commissioner Barbara Tyre said that she feared that moving the location to the outskirts of town may affect voter turnout.

However, Kearney said that he hoped the venue would be a temporary one for this election cycle.

“It is harder to choose a polling site than most people realize,” Kearney explained. “We have to consider location, parking and safety issues, and compliance with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations. Actually, a perfect place in Red Oak would be the new fire station, but that is still under construction.”

 Parking is also a major factor in the decision to forego the use of the Castalia Town Hall as a polling site. Kearney said that there was very little room to park or maneuver vehicles. In fact, he said that election officials witnessed near-accidents during the last election because of the constricted traffic pattern.

“Traffic is a major problem at the Castalia site,” Kearney said. “I don’t know how people managed to vote there in the presidential election.”

The Castalia Volunteer Fire Department located on Lancaster Store Road will be the new location for the upcoming elections. Kearney said neither the Castalia Fire Department nor Calvary Chapel were charging a fee for use of the buildings.

“Both sites have been very gracious about allowing their use,” Kearney said.

Of course Nash County citizens can avoid all the confusion of locating polling sites by voting early. Kearney said that early voting began last Thursday and more than 300 citizens had already cast votes for the May 4th primary.  Voters can cast their votes now at the Board of Elections office in Nashville, but Kearney said that Braswell Memorial Library will be set up as an alternative early voting site for one week beginning April 26.

Kearney said that if there is a need for a second primary, the election will be held on June 22. General elections will be held on Tuesday, November 8.

If citizens need to know the times or locations of polling sites for their precincts, they can check the information on the web at  http://www.co.nash.nc.us/Departments/BoardofElections.

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