March 27 election will be held at 2 precincts

Published 6:27 pm Friday, February 16, 2018

The Vicksburg Warren School District’s March 27 bond referendum election will be held at only two precincts, which raised questions from community members at a forum Thursday evening.

The election will be held at Vicksburg High School in the main lobby and at Warren Central High School in Gym A.

Voters in District 1, which includes the Bovina Baptist Church, Sherman Avenue, Oak Ridge Youth Center and the Redwood precincts, will vote at Warren Central. District 5, which includes Calvary Baptist Church, Berachah Baptist Church, Plumbers & Pipefitters Union, The Church of God and the Porter’s Chapel United Methodist Church precincts will also vote at Warren Central.

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District 2 — International Paper Mill, City Auditorium, Eagle Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Rolling Acres Community Center, Triumph Ministries and Springhill M.B. — District 3 —Travelers Rest, American Legion Post #3, Warren Central Junior — and District 4 — Elks Lodge #95, Goodrum Baptist, Immanuel Baptist and Yokena Presbyterian — will vote at Vicksburg High.

“As we talked about the process, Rankin County, this is their process,” superintendent Chad Shealy said of why they chose two precincts. “This is what they did. Our legal counsel gave us that recommendation in addition to that it saves us money. As you talk about the two precincts, we wanted them at the two schools because the focus is the schools.”

Election commissioner Sara Dionne said the decision to have only two precincts will save the district about $20,000 compared to what they would have spent by opening every precinct.

“We pay rent for a lot of our precincts, we use a whole lot less poll managers in two precincts than we would in 22 and there is a lower cost because we don’t have to order 22 different kinds of ballots,” Dionne said. “The decision of what precincts to use and when to have the election is by state statute a decision made by the school board. At that point, the election commission is given that direction and we have an election. The whole rest of the election is under the jurisdiction of the election commission and it is run exactly like any election we do.”

Shealy and the panel were also asked why they chose to have the election in March instead of either June or November during regularly scheduled elections. If the bond election were held during one of those times, it wouldn’t have cost the school district anything.

“As we were considering the vote and the way it needed to take place, there’s some imminence in timeframe here,” Shealy said. “We’re not talking about roofing a house. It’s not something we can throw a tarp on and come back in a week when the weather is right. We are talking about students not getting access. It was important for our board to make the decision to move forward as quickly as possible.”