Some changes are coming for Madison County voters, particularly to those who vote in locations where a number of precincts are gathered.
Tim Ward, director of the Madison County Board of Elections, said in those multi-precinct locations, voting by precinct will be replaced by voting alphabetically.
As voters enter the polling place, they will look for the table which will have their first letter of their last name. For example, a voter with the last name of Smith, will go to the line for names beginning with N-Z.
During a meeting Monday with Madison County commissioners, Ward said it will eliminate precinct identity confusion. Voters often don’t remember which precinct they vote in, so it’s easier to remember the first letter of a person’s name than the precinct letter/number, he said.
Also, the Darby Township and Canaan Township polling places will be combined at Jonathan Alder High School. Those voters will also step into line alphabetically.
By consolidating precincts — from 43 to 27 — a savings is gained through the reduction in the number of poll workers. Ward said the board of elections has trimmed the cost of an election from $21,000 per election to $16,096.
Ward also said poll workers will receive a $5 increase for training and in base pay from $5 to $9.50 per day.
Presiding judges will receive increases from $131.50 to $146.
The raises will increase the cost of an election from $16,096 to $18,442. Part of that increase will be offset by $772 from the Ohio Secretary of State.
The commissioners also approved the board of elections expense of $6,856 for two new computers. Ward said they will replace two older computers in addition to a server. The upgrade will not include a server. By eliminating the server, the savings equals $4,500, according to Ward.
In other business during Monday’s county commission meeting, Julia Cumming, director of the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District, said retired biologist John Silvius informed some 25 cyclists on the Prairie Bike Ride about the royal catchfly plant, which has been present in Madison County since pioneer days.
To preserve such a native plant in Madison County, Cumming said the park board will look into methods to capture seed from the plant and forward them to London Correctional Institution, which has a greenhouse, where seeds could be germinated and plants started.
“Silvius is in favor of it,” Cumming said.
Regarding the Little Darby Preserve, the next improvement to be made would be an information kiosk, which she said “would be great as a volunteer or (Eagle) scout project.”
A fall clean-up day will target honeysuckle Nov. 1.
Also on Monday, commissioners learned three home sanitary sewer projects will now be completed because a contractor has been hired, according to Jennifer Michaelson, director of environmental health for the Madison County/London City Health District. Contractor Dan Patterson of Dan’s Excavating, from Ross County, has been hired to do three projects at a cost of $13,500.
They include replacement of a tank and leach field, $6,450; and replacing components on two others, one at $3,750 and another at $3,300.
The funds come from the Ohio EPA and the water pollution loan fund.
The owners qualified for the work due to meeting federal poverty level requirements.
On another topic, Michaelson said the apartments on Stump Lane owned by Bill Shaw remained condemned and unsuitable for human habitation. She describes his repairs to the structures as “a little bit here, a little bit there.”
“We can’t have people live there until we lift the condemn order,” Michaelson said. “It’s dragged out too long.”
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1617 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.