Next Tuesday may be a confusing day for many Tulsa County voters

Tuesday, August 20th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Next Tuesday's big primary election could be confusing for many Tulsa County voters. It's not a question of which candidate but which polling place.

News on Six reporter Rick Wells explains that one in three Tulsa County voters has a new polling place, and a third of them don't know it. Some of these people who voted in the last election are in for a big surprise on Tuesday.

The census resulted in redistricting. Redistricting resulted in new precinct boundaries that mean many of these folks will have to vote in a new location. Shelly Boggs with Tulsa County Election Board, "We have changed 92,000 voters’ precincts." Tulsa County has 260 precincts, 18 of them are new and 179 of the 260 have new boundaries.

Why so many changes, once the redistricting was settled there are rules you just can't put a precinct, anywhere you want to. "A precinct can only be in one state senate district, one state house district, one county commissioner district and one congressional district." Those rules necessitated the adjustments.

The election board knows there are going to be problems, so they printed up a bunch of maps for every affected polling place. For example the state office building downtown is no longer a polling place. So when voters show up here they'll find a map telling most of them to go to the First Christian Church, which is six blocks away, some others who used to vote there will have to go to the Church of Christ on Rockford which is even farther away.

They also mailed out new voter ID cards to the affected voters, they got 29,000 back. That doesn't mean you can't vote, as long as you're registered. "It's going to take up a lot of time." Time to find the correct polling place, so bring your voter card and your patience. All this has the makings of a very confusing day for voters and poll workers too.

In addition, the Tulsa County Election Board needs help. They need volunteers, who are registered voters who can work at a polling place, all day election day. There's even a little pay to help with expenses. Give them a call at 596-5787.