Rochester adds new voting precinct

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 6, 2018

ROCHESTER — The city of Rochester is starting the new year with a new voting precinct.

“We need to add a new precinct to the city because we are continuing to grow,” Rochester City Clerk Lee Ann O’Connor told the City Council during a Dec. 18 council meeting. “So, I am proposing to split Precinct 5 along Runyon Road. Everything north of that will be your new Precinct 6.”

The move is nothing new for Rochester, which O’Connor said has had to add additional precincts over the years due to population growth.

“In 1967, we had Precincts 1, 2 and 3. In 1993, we added Precinct 4. In 2003, we had to add Precinct 5 because of the growth over on the east side, and now … we need to add Precinct 6 and split Precinct 5,” she said.

The city currently has approximately 10,321 voters. Precinct 1, at the Rochester Community House, currently serves approximately 1,953 registered voters, while Precinct 3 — also at the Community House — sees 1,537 voters. Precinct 2, at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, has approximately 2,604 voters, while Precinct 4 — also at St. Paul’s — serves 1,143 voters. Precinct 5, which meets in the auditorium of the Older Persons’ Commission, handles 3,084 voters.

O’Connor said the division of Precinct 5 was necessary in order for the city to comply with a state election law that states that when a precinct exceeds 2,999 registered voters, it shall be divided or rearranged.

“Our current registration for Precinct 5 is 3,084, so we have surpassed that threshold,” she said. “Precinct 6 is estimated to have about 1,200 voters, so that will reduce Precinct 5 registration down to about 1,900.”

O’Connor said the Precinct 6 boundary includes everything north of Runyon Road to the city limits on the west, north and east sides of that portion of the city.

“Those residents that are part of the new Precinct 6 will continue (to) cast their ballots at the OPC,” City Manager Blaine Wing said.

He said Precinct 6 voters will continue to vote in the same location as they did when they were part of Precinct 5. Voters from the two precincts will just enter the OPC auditorium from separate doors at the east and the west, which O’Connor said should reduce wait times.

“This will result in no impact to the voters. They will be going to the same place. They will be parking in the same place,”  O’Connor said. “Maybe a little bit of more of a positive impact is that they might not wait in such long lines because it will be divvied up.”

The city has budgeted $10,000 for the move — which includes approximately $750 in new voter identification cards, $5,500 for a new tabulator, $2,000 for about 10 new voting booths, approximately $350 in ballot containers, and $1,400 for signage and other miscellaneous equipment. The new voter ID cards should be mailed out to the 1,200 voters affected by the change within the next 90 days, according to O’Connor.

The City Council unanimously approved the creation of Precinct 6 and the costs associated with the move Dec. 18.

For more information on elections, contact the City Clerk’s Office at (248) 651-9061.