Contrary to early discussions with CCDP and others in the community, the Cleveland County Board of Elections is moving to put in place immediately (before the November 2014 election) two mergers involving some Shelby precincts.
Shelby 6 and 7 precincts are being merged into one larger precinct to be called Shelby South, with its voting place at Holly Oak Park. Shelby 1, 2, and 3 precincts are being merged into one larger precinct to be called Shelby Central, with its voting place Shelby City Park.
In earlier discussions, it had been suggested the two mergers would be staged over two years, with the last to be effective for the November 2015 general election. We’ve no word on when the phased-in concept was dismissed.
An ad run in the Shelby Star Aug. 17 and 24 announced the precinct changes, to become final upon N. C. Board of Elections approval (expected shortly). The ad says voters in the affected precincts will receive notice by mail in the form of a yellow voter registration card. The card will indicate precinct and polling place.
In North Carolina, every precinct is entitled to one election-day voting place within its boundaries. When smaller precincts are merged to form a larger one, the “new” precinct still is entitled to just one voting place, to serve all the merged precincts’ voters. In 2014 alone, the Republican-majority of the local Board of Elections, through the mergers it has sought and approved, will have reduced by five the number of election-day voting places available to Cleveland County voters.
Effective earlier this year, the Board merged the former Shelby 4 and 8 precincts into a new precinct also called Shelby 4, and it merged Boiling Springs and Holly Springs precincts into the new Broad River precinct. (In prior years, the number of voting places in Kings Mountain was reduced from four to two.)