A new analysis of voting precincts shows that Scotland County voters could be confused by the changes brought on by redistricting.
A report by the nonpartisan Democracy North Carolina, said Scotland voters should not have a problem during Tuesday’s primary, but there may be confusion during November’s General Election.
According to election watchdog’s report, the changes will not be obvious in the primary because the state House candidates —Rep. Garland Pierce and Ken Goodman — are unopposed in their party’s primary.
But the report said that in future elections half of Scotland County’s 10 precincts will split be apart by two state House districts.
For example, one voter will choose among candidates for House District 48 while another voter living down the block in the same precinct chooses among candidates for House District 66, said Bob Hall, Democracy NC executive director.
“Taken together, these changes make Scotland the 23rd worst county on a “Voter Confusion Index” created by Democracy North Carolina to highlight the potential for frustration, confusion and mistakes over the next decade,” Hall said.
Cumberland and Wayne counties rank 1st and 2nd — the worst two, on the Index; Hoke is Number 13, Robeson is 18 and Richmond ranks 19th.
To help voters, a special “Election Protection Hotline” has been set up to answer election-related questions. The toll-free hotline is 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).
In addition, a new Website at www.NCElectionConnection.com provides information, including rules about absentee voting and registration, a list of Early-Voting and Election-Day polling sites, and links to preview each voter’s own ballot.
“We recommend that you look up your ballot before going to vote,” Hall said. “That will help you become familiar with your candidate choices and alert you if you receive a different ballot at the polling place.”
The Index shows that only 15 of the state’s 100 counties survived the statewide redistricting process without changes in their state House, state Senate or Congressional districts.
On the Index, a score of 300 means all three of those political districts are new in every precinct in the county; a score 200 means two of the three are different throughout the county. The higher the score, the more districts and district lines have changed. Most of the counties without any changes have largely white populations and are in western North Carolina or along the coast.
Forty-six of the 100 counties have scores of 200 or higher and 27 have scores of 300 or higher. Scotland County’s score is 340.
The worse 10 counties on the Index reach 500 points and more because of the large number of precincts split up into multiple districts by complex boundary lines. The 15 counties with the highest scores (worst listed first) are Cumberland, Wayne, Durham, Pitt, Pasquotank, Johnston, Lenoir, Franklin, Nash, Craven, Lee, Greene, Hoke, Forsyth and Wilson.