Retirements close county polling site

FAYETTEVILLE -- The Washington County Election Commission has decided to close a polling site after five poll workers retired, said Jennifer Price, election commission coordinator.

"This was unexpected for us to have to do this, but at this point, with the time constraints we are under, this was the best decision for the election commission to make," Price said.

The polling place has 638 registered voters in the Marrs Hill precinct, according to election commission documents.

The commission had until Feb. 1 to make changes to the polling location or get new workers trained, Price said. Commissioners decided during a meeting Thursday that closing the polling site at Viney Grove United Methodist Church in Prairie Grove was the best option, she said.

The election commission is always looking for poll workers to help with elections, Price said. It is not uncommon for one poll worker, especially a supervisor, to retire or quit and the others to follow suit, she said.

Voters in the Marrs Hill precinct will be notified via mail, and they can vote at any other polling center in the county, Price said. Other polls are close by, including one about 3½ miles away at Prairie Grove Christian Church at 611 Wayne Villines Road, she said.

The commission is using polling centers this year and consolidating polling sites. Any Washington County resident can vote at any center. The county originally had 56 polling sites and has consolidated to 49, Price said. Three sites were closed in Fayetteville and Springdale, she said.

In other business, the commission decided not to proceed with creating a policy asking exit pollsters to register during the election.

The commission decided earlier this month not to allow exit pollsters inside polling sites to conduct polls, but the new policy would have had pollsters register or otherwise notify officials when they were at voting locations.

The registration policy would have required an ordinance from the Washington County Quorum Court. Price said commissioners decided not to proceed at this time.

Metro on 01/24/2016