FAIRMONT — The Marion County Commission officially consolidated two voting precincts this week.

During its meeting, commissioners approved an order to consolidate Precinct 35, which is the West Virginia Division of Highways Materials Lab, into Precinct 32, which is the Head Start on Country Club Road.

Under the consolidation, Precinct 32 is being relocated to the Fleming Memorial Presbyterian Church on Locust Avenue.

Previously, voter registration Deputy Clerk Julie Kincaid said Precinct 35, the West Virginia DOH Materials Lab, doesn’t have good vehicle access.

“We just feel like it would be in the best interest of our voters to have a more accessible polling place and the church fits that bill,” she said.

Kincaid said the church is very spacious, and has a handicapped accessible entrance.

The change calls for needing only five poll workers, which Kincaid, said, are getting increasingly difficult to enlist to work.

“Mostly, I think, because a lot of people’s work schedule doesn’t accommodate that,” she said. “Obviously, we understand that.”

She said although poll workers are paid $150 for the whole day, they have a long day because they cannot leave the polling place all day.

She thinks this requirement is also a deterrent to finding poll workers.

In a separate precinct consolidation, commissioners approved an order consolidating Precincts 96, 104 and 113F, which is a portion of Precinct 113, into one precinct to be known as Precinct 96. According to the order, Precinct 96 will located in the Marion County Police Reserves Building.

Kincaid said 113F is Sally Field Estates. This portion of Precinct 113 is located in the City of Fairmont, she said.

Previously, voters in 113F went to the Marion County Convention & Visitors Center to vote. Because voters in 113F were from the city, the poll workers had to separate them from the rest of Precinct 113, which is in the outlying areas of the city, she said.

Now, this won’t be required.

She said the consolidation will make for “a much smoother process for everyone involved.”

Kincaid said Precincts 96 and 104 had previously been together in the Police Reserves Building, but at different tables.

“Now, it’s just all going to be together,” she said.

Deputy County Clerk Tom Antulov said the commission’s action this week makes things final.

“That was the actual order to consolidate,” he said.

In 2019, the commission received an Order of Intent from the Marion County Clerk to consolidate Precinct 122, the Montana Mines Community Building, into Precinct 121, East Dale Elementary School. Kincaid said this consolidation was necessary because the community building can no longer be used for elections because it’s need of some structural improvements. That consolidation has also been finalized.

Antulov said all these precincts represent 2,700 voters at the present time.

County Commissioner Ernie VanGilder previously said the consolidations save tax dollars by reducing the number of poll workers needed.

According to Antulov, all of the consolidations will require 15 fewer poll workers.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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