Redistricting's impact noted

Redistricting of political boundaries in the aftermath of the 2010 federal census has impacted about 1,000 voters in Union County.

Union County Clerk Bobby Toler Jr. is working to share updates about local political boundaries ahead of the March 20 primary election.

The county clerk also reported that his office has conducted what is termed as a "purge" of voter registration rolls as required by state law.

Toler encourages local residents who may have any concerns about their voting status to contact his office. The county clerk's office is at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro. The phone number is 833-5711.

He also noted that Feb. 21 is the last day to register to vote in the March primary election.

Redistricting Boun-daries

Toler explained that the part of Union County which is east of new U.S. Route 51 is now part of the 59th State Senate District and the 118th State Representative District, with the exception of Anna 4 and most of Anna 5 precincts.

The 59th District is served by State Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton.

The 118th District is served by State Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.

The part of Union County west of new U.S. Route 51 now is in the 58th State Senate District and the 115th State Representative District.

The 58th District is served by State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld, R-Okawville.

The 115th District is served by State Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro.

The county clerk noted that several of Union County's precincts, Anna 3, Balcom and Cobden 1, essentially have been split in half by redistricting.

In some cases, residents on one side of a street may be in one legislative district; residents on the other side of the street could be in another district.

Voter Registration

The county clerk said that his office has conducted the purge of voter registration rolls, a two-year process which focuses on voters who have not cast ballots in the last two general elections: in 2010 and in 2008.

Those who had not participated in the elections would go into what is considered a suspended status for two years.

Toler said letters were sent to voters who had not participated in the general elections.

Some of those who received the notification responded to the letters and have been reactivated on the voter registration rolls. Voters also will be reactivated if they go to vote in the upcoming primary election.

The county clerk said that the purging process began with Union County having a total of 15,174 registered voters. A total of 3,571 voters were identified as suspended, bringing the number of active voters to 11,603.

Along with selecting candidates for various offices in the primary, voters in four Union County public school districts likely will be deciding the fate of a proposed reorganization initiative.

The issue involves the Lick Creek, Anna, Jonesboro and Anna-Jonesboro Community High School districts.

Toler said that school district boundaries may not necessarily follow those of legislative districts.

For that reason, voters who might have a concern about specifically which school district they live in can contact the county clerk's office for clarification.

Voters will cast ballots in the same precinct polling place where the correct ballot will be available.

For those who do not want to declare party affiliation and still want to vote on the school referendum, a nonpartisan ballot will be available for the primary election.

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