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Wednesday, 22 February 2012 21:25

Taxpayers deserve easier access to voting

Written by 

To the Editor:

My name is John Herrin and I am a registered voter in Swain County, and I wrote this letter to the Swain County Board of Elections.

I have served in the past as a board member on this very Board of Elections. It is my intent in requesting this “One-Stop Voting Site” that it will inherently make the right to vote much easier for the registered voters of Swain County and as well should help in dimensioning the tremendous number of voters which are expected in this election cycle on Election Day.

Through the media I have come to understand some of the problems being faced by this current board in making such decisions and I would offer up the following solutions to such questions.

•Location — The Swain County West Fire Department is logistically located in the middle of the far western end of Swain County. This location is on or very close to several western commuter routes for a tremendous number of registered voters in Swain County that work in the Nantahala George area or those that work outside of the county which commute to Andrews, Robbinsville and Franklin. It would also offer a polling location to those who enjoy the recreational areas of the Fontana Lake or to fish the trout waters of the Nantahala River or even the Cheoha River and the area below Fontana Dam. Without a doubt this is a very busy area in Swain County.

• Building or Voting Place — The building should already be ADA compliant in that this is a volunteer fire department which is also a tax supported facility in Swain County in that it accepts funding from the county through the budget approved each year. The facility should at a very minimum meet the criteria of a “One-Stop Voting Site.” I’m sure that Swain County Board of Commissioners should be able to assist the fire department in whatever other needs it might be lacking in order to allow the registered voters of Swain County to participate in voting at this site as they have done in previous election cycles at other polling sites.

• Funding and Personnel — Funding of the site is basically a non-issue. The proposed cost for such a site with the current reduced time frame should not exceed $3,500 to $4,000 dollars. This would include personnel as well as the logistics of the proposed site. This is a trivial amount and could very well be handled by the Swain County Commissioners’ Special Project Fund as detailed in the county budget.

We are talking about supplying a service to the taxpayers of Swain County in order to allow them an easier path to exercise their right to Vote. I see no reason that funding of such a minor amount should play into such a decision nor do I believe that the commissioners when faced with this question would not approve of funding this “One-Stop Site.” The responsibility for such a decision is solely on the shoulders of the board of elections, but it is the responsibility of the county commissioners to see that it is funded.

This site could and would serve all of Swain County but more importantly place a convenient “One Stop Site” closer to Deals Gap, Nantahala George, Wesser Creek, Silvermine, Needmore, and Watia as well as the surrounding Almond area all of which are served by The Swain West Fire Department. .

John E. Herrin

Swain County, Registered Voter

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