Virginia Senate passes bill to simplify Montgomery County elections

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Mike Gangloff – The Roanoke Times – 2/25/15 – Source

The General Assembly has approved changes to Montgomery County’s voting map that should make running elections at least somewhat easier.

The borders of the districts for various state and local offices cross in complicated ways in Montgomery County, which has resulted in an array of “split” precincts that have confused voters, candidates and election officials. In a precinct that is split between the county and one of its towns, for example, some voters would get a ballot for an election for town council and some for the board of supervisors.

The Virginia Senate on Monday passed a bill sponsored by Del. Joseph Yost, R-Pearisburg, to slightly adjust the lines of his own district and two others that contain parts of Montgomery County.

The goal is to make the House districts better align with precinct boundaries and reduce the number of split precincts in Montgomery County, Yost said.

The House of Delegates had approved the bill earlier this month.

“I am pleased to see the passage of this bill,” Yost wrote in an email this week. “This has been a request from Montgomery County since redistricting in 2010 and I am happy to finally see it acted upon. I hope through its passage, to minimize the number of split precincts in the county and thereby save taxpayer resources.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe still has to sign the bill for it to take effect, Yost noted.

Montgomery County Voter Registrar Randy Wertz wrote in an email that he will ask the county’s GIS department to figure out which addresses are affected by the bill, and send the information to state election officials. People whose House districts have changed should get new voter cards in the mail, Wertz wrote.