Election Supervisors Push for “Super Precincts,” but State Not So Sure

Your neighborhood polling place may soon be a thing of the past if Florida’s elections supervisors have their way.

The supervisors want to create “super-precincts,” giant voting centers to take the place of scattered sites throughout the county, but members of the minority community and even some top state officials aren’t sure super-sizing is the right way to go.

Florida’s elections supervisors think they have a solution to long lines in neighborhood precincts on Election Day, super-sized voting centers, open for days instead of hours.

Charlotte County’s Supervisor Mac Horton says consolidating dozens of scattered sites into centrally-located voting centers saved their primary election after Hurricane Charley.

“I think we lost better than a third of our precincts, so if we hadn’t been able to do that it would have made it impossible for us to hold our election.

Election protection activist Reggie Mitchell is skeptical. He worries having fewer super-sized precincts could make it tougher on some voters.

“I think that the supervisors do have the best of intentions, but we are concerned about transportation to the polls in the poor and minority communities.”

But elections supervisors say you can get around transportation issues by using a mail-in ballot instead of worrying about getting a ride to the voting booth.

Super precincts would also solve the controversy over provisional ballots, since you could vote at any center in your county.

Lot. Gov. Toni Jennings says the Bush administration isn’t sold on the idea yet.

“It’s probably one that needs to be walked through a little bit more because again, you have a transportation issue, you have potentially a lot of people going into a precinct, would the lines be even longer?”

And voters may be slow to embrace the change too. Despite the popularity of early and mail-in voting, nearly seven out of 10 Florida voters still used their neighborhood precincts on Election Day last year.