Almost half of Charlottesville voters will have a new polling site this year

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 3:31 AM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - If you live in Charlottesville the next time you vote, it might not be at your usual polling place. On Tuesday evening Charlottesville City Council got a look at what could be the new precinct map.

“This entailed really restructuring all the precincts because these two polling places don’t exactly replace the ones that we were retiring. So we did that and we tried to make the new precinct map and the polling precincts, the number of voters as even as possible in those places,” Cochair of the Reprecincting Committee Anne Hemenway said.

The proposal replaces Tonsler Recreation Center and UVA Alumni Hall with Jackson Via Elementary and Charlottesville High School as new voting sites.

“They’re accessible. They’re on a transit line. They’re schools so there’ll be closed during the November election and caused during the June elections. And there’s plenty of parking at both of these places,” Hemenway said.

After the reprecincting is complete 45% of percent Charlottesville voters will be in a new precinct.

The new map comes after the 2020 election when Charlottesville was flagged by the state election office because of new census data.

“It did prompt the electoral board, and the registrar’s office to review our precinct situation, which was very uneven in terms of number of voters in the precincts. We had that and some complaints about walkability as some of the precincts,” Hemenway said.

Councilors expressed concerns about getting the word out to voters about this major change. Once the new map is finalized notices will be sent out to voters in the mail and be posted on social media, but councilors worried that was not enough.

“I think if I were to even ask people to follow local government closely ‘did you know that almost half the city is going to have a new polling location?’ Maybe one in 10 would even be aware of that, and that’s probably overestimating it,” Councilor Michael Payne said.

This is a proposal map that the public will be able to comment on in a 30-day window. There is also expected to be a public hearing during the city council on Feb 6.

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