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Elections official: No district, precinct changes for primary

Although a new county commission district map with different boundary lines has been adopted, voters heading to the polls in March will report to the same voting locations as they did during the last election, Administrator of Elections Sarah Bailey reported on Monday.
Bailey said members of the state’s Election Commission advised local election officials at a December conference that they should hold off on sending out new literature to notify voters of changes to their districts and precincts.
“They advised it would be best if we did not implement our new county plan until after the March election in case there were holdups with the state,” Bailey said. “So, right now, our plan is to implement our new precincts and districts after the March primary.”
The Tennessee General Assembly returns for its 2012 session next week. At that point, state lawmakers will vote to adopt a new state redistricting plan for both House and Senate district boundary lines, Bailey said Monday.
Back in October, election workers began flagging more than 1,300 county voters affected by district changes in an effort to notify them of the changes via mail-outs.
Bailey said, however, that if current redistricting proposals pass at the state level, Unicoi County will be shifted into a new state House district – from Fifth to Fourth – as well as a new state Senate district – First to Third.
That type of change will require the election office to notify all Unicoi County voters via mail-outs, not just the ones affected by local changes.
“The goal is to consolidate those mailings so that we don’t have to double-mail our residents,” Bailey said back in October. At that time, she said the election office was waiting on the state to adopt its redistricting plans, which were estimated to be completed by Feb. 1.
The county will hold a Republican primary on Tuesday, March 6, with early voting set to take place from Feb. 15 to Feb. 28 at the Election Commission office, located at 106 Nolichucky Ave.
The county’s general election will be held Aug. 2.
Questions regarding redistricting changes or the upcoming primary may be directed to the office at 743-6521.