Seven of the county's 18 voting precincts will be closed after the March election, election administrator Summer Leverette told county commission members during her quarterly departmental report Tuesday night.
The March 2012 primary election will include all 18 precincts; the closings won't take effect until after that, meaning the August primary and general elections will be affected.
The precincts being closed are Longview, Rover, Halls Mill, Liberty, Wheel, Raus and the county courthouse. Longview voters will be sent to what had been known as the Airport precinct, which now votes at Fair Haven Baptist Church. Rover and Halls Mill voters will move to the Unionville precinct; Liberty and Wheel voters to the Bedford precinct; Raus voters to the Flat Creek precinct and courthouse voters to Southside Elementary School.
Leverette told the Times-Gazette on Wednesday that the closings were for a variety of reasons, including low voter turnout, difficulty in recruiting poll workers and handicap accessibility issues at some locations.
In other changes, Wartrace will move its precinct location from the gymnasium to Wartrace Baptist Church, and the Normandy precinct will move to Normandy Baptist Church.
Commissioners appeared surprised by the announcement Tuesday night, asking Leverette if the closures were "a done deal." Leverette said they were.
Leverette told commissioners that new county commission districts have been finalized. New voter ID cards won't be mailed out just yet, however, because the county is still waiting for the state to draw congressional and legislative districts. Once those have been finalized, voters will be issued ID cards with their new districts.