/Many Meridian voters unsure of where to vote after county officials approved late change

Many Meridian voters unsure of where to vote after county officials approved late change

According to documents, the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors took this action on Sept. 8, to increase space for social distancing, voter privacy, and improve parking access. Supervisors voted on the changes after they were requested by the County’s Election Commission. Although some residents were informed about the changes, many others were not aware of the details. They were also confused by the correspondence from the county. A voter who requested anonymity out of fear of retribution said that he and his mom received a letter informing them that the Raymond P. Davis Building County Courthouse Annex was their new voting location for county elections. He and his mother assumed that Tuesday’s federal election meant they would continue to vote at the Central Fire Station, as they did in previous elections. He arrived at the fire station on Tuesday morning before 7:55 a.m. and found no one there. No signage had been posted. He said that a man showed up at the fire station around 7:55 AM and informed us that we weren’t supposed to be there to cast our votes and that we should be at the Raymond P. Davis Annex. Consuela Rue, District 2 Election Commissioner, said that the letter was written in this manner because residents of her district vote at two precincts for city elections and one for county elections. She said that for municipal elections they have different precincts. However, she noted that she had recommended to city officials that those precincts be transferred to the Annex Building in order to reduce voter confusion. Reginald Cole, a “stander,” was seen parked at the Central Fire Station on Tuesday morning around 11 AM. He redirects voters to the correct precinct. Two signs were taped to Cole’s car, directing voters to the Annex Building approximately a mile away. He directed voters away from the Annex Building, where they would roll down their windows and drive past. He estimated that about 50 people had arrived at the fire station to try to vote. Ina Campbell was one of them. She was going to vote during her lunch break. According to Mississippi Today, she was not notified of any changes. Prospect and Andrews Chapel were two other precincts that Gracepointe Fellowship merged to create a single precinct to better comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This also provided more voting space. “… these improved facilities for disabled voters, elderly voters, will enhance the voting process of all persons involved,” the Sept. 8 order by the board supervisors states. County officials approved the relocation of the First Baptist Church of Lauderdale’s polling station to the Gateway Church. According to the order, First Baptist Church asked to be removed from the polling location. The order specified that Gateway is accessible for handicapped persons and has sufficient parking.