Voter cards are out; voter turnout may be low

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By John Barnhart

    New voter cards have been sent out, according to Barbara Gunter, the county registrar.

    The new voter cards reflect changes in local and state election districts as the result of redistricting following the 2010 census. Once you get your new card, you should throw the old one away to avoid the possibility of confusion. Gunter said that the cards have been mailed out by the State Board of Elections in two batches. If you don’t receive yours by the end of the month, you should contact Gunter’s office. She said that they will print one out for you.
    When you get your card, check to see if your name and address is listed correctly. If there is an error, make the corrections, sign the card and mail it back to Gunter’s office. You can also bring it to the office in person if you prefer.
    The card lists your polling place. Gunter reminds voters not to assume that they will vote in the same place this year as they did last year. Some polling places have changed. There are people who voted at Suck Springs Baptist Church who will now vote at Liberty High School. In turn, those who voted at the Odd Fellows Hall will now vote at Suck Springs Baptist.
    All of those who voted at Saunders Grove Church of the Brethren, and some of those who voted at Thaxton Elementary School, will now vote at Flint Hill Community Center. Voters who live on the western part of Perrowville Road (District 7) will vote at Forest Elementary while those on the eastern side (District 4) will vote at the Forest Library.        Gunter said that part of these changes came about because Saunders Grove and the Odd Fellows Hall were not fully handicapped accessible. This meant that poll workers had to bring paper ballots out to people.
    Redistricting will affect many voters who will be in a different local district as well as different House of Delegates and Virginia Senate districts. Those districts are printed on the cards.
    Gunter said that, come election day, voters can speed up their check-in process by bringing their voter cards with them. The county now uses electronic poll books and all cards have a bar code that can be scanned.
    Absentee ballots have already been coming in.
    “We are getting absentee ballots in but it has been a light turnout so far,” Gunter said.