Ahoskie II precinct may move

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 16, 2006

AHOSKIE – After two years at the Town Hall, it appears that the Ahoskie II voting precinct is on the move.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Ahoskie Town Council, David Robertson, chairman of the Hertford County Board of Elections (BOE), proposed a plan to move the Ahoskie II precinct.

Since 2004, Ahoskie II registered voters have cast their ballots at the Ahoskie Town Hall. If the current plan by the BOE is carried out, those voters will use the old Ahoskie High School Band Room beginning next year.

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, Robertson informed Ahoskie officials of the pending move, one that must first be approved by the U.S. Justice Department. He presented Ahoskie Mayor Linda Blackburn with a lease agreement.

“We feel the Band Room gives us a better location and a better area for parking,” Robertson said.

Town Manager Tony Hammond said the Band Room, located on West Main Street near the Ahoskie Rural Fire Department, should fit the needs of the BOE. Hammond said due to recent renovations, the facility is ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant.

In a telephone interview on Thursday, Hertford County BOE Director Shelia Privott said her board didn’t want to move the Ahoskie II precinct, but saw no other choice to help alleviate some problems that have popped up over the years at the Town Hall.

“The town of Ahoskie graciously allowed us to use their main facility as a polling precinct,” Privott said. “However, limited parking was a problem as were long lines during the last presidential election. We want to do what’s best for our voters.”

This doesn’t mark the first time that the Ahoskie II precinct has experienced a change in address.

For many years, Ahoskie II voters used the National Guard Armory. That ended in 2003 when the State Board of Elections encouraged all counties using military facilities such as an Armory to move. In turn, the Ahoskie II polling place moved to the Ahoskie Town Hall.

Additionally, this marks the second recent move of an Ahoskie voting precinct. Earlier this year, the Ahoskie I polling place moved from the Ahoskie Rescue Squad Building to the Ahoskie Elementary School gym, where it now remains.

The Ahoskie III precinct will remain at R.L. Vann School.

As part of its approval process to allow the move from the Town Hall to the Band Room, Ahoskie Council members agreed not to charge BOE for leasing that town-owned facility.