Commission looking at district lines

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The sign on the door of the election commissioners office reads &uot;Redistricting in progress.&uot;

But Adams County Election Commissioner Bob Barrett admits that is misleading.

&uot;We’re not redistricting,&uot; he said. &uot;The elections commission does not draw the lines. We are finishing the redistricting process.&uot;

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For the past two weeks, Barrett and other commissioners have spent their days poring over new precinct maps, comparing them to the list of registered voters to assign each voter a district based on the new map.

Questions have arisen this week because of those new lines, but election commissioners say they are simply placing the voters in the correct districts. At the end of the process, they will send a postcard to each registered voter with that person’s precinct (voting location), and the districts in which they will vote for candidates.

At a concerned citizens’ group meeting earlier this week, District 1 supervisor candidate Mike Lazarus charged that his voting district had changed to District 2, although he has been voting in District 1 &uot;for the past six, seven years.&uot;

But Election Commissioner Larry Gardner said the commission did not move Lazarus arbitrarily. He admits a mistake was made in Lazarus’ district assignment three years ago, when, records show, Lazarus submitted an address change that had a new street. Commissioners mistakenly listed the street in District 1, although maps show it should always have been in District 2.

During the assigning process over the past two weeks, the mistake was discovered.

&uot;We discovered there was an error made, and he needed to be notified,&uot; Gardner said.

Gardner and other commissioners emphasized on Friday that they are carrying out a process begun by the Adams County Board of Supervisors, the body that is charged with redrawing lines after a Census.

Election commissioners do not know when they will be able to send each voter a postcard with his or her voting information, because they must wait for the justice court lines. But they emphasize that if a voter’s address has changed, he or she should contact the Circuit Clerk’s Office with that information.