From a local newspaper: “Many polling places closed on primary day”
Many South Carolina voters will be sent to new polling places on presidential primary day, as one-fifth of regular state polling places will be closed.
The closed polls are the result of a state law passed last year turning control of the Jan. 19 Republican primary and Jan. 26 Democratic primary over to the South Carolina State Election Commission.
About 400 of 2,200 polling places will be merged, according to Chris Whitmire, spokesman for the State Election Commission.
The change was meant to ensure a professionally run election, with the use of state resources and electronic voting machines. But in trying to limit costs, the Legislature required local election officials to merge some precincts into one polling place.
This year’s changes have been approved by the U.S. Justice Department, and local officials said they have worked to limit the inconvenience. But the result, many observers said, is that voters will be surprised to find their normal polling place closed on primary day. …
I’ve blogged about this general issue previously, here. I’m not at all surprised that the Bush Justice Department approved this plan. Counties like Lexington, which have extremely high rates of Republicans, will have all of their polling places available. My Richland County polling place will apparently be open, but the one next door has been closed and those folks will be flooding what are already usually very long lines. People who cannot devote four hours or more to the voting process will probably stay away from polling places altogether.
Oddball aside: The South Carolina Association of Registration and Election Officials goes by the acronym SCARE.