ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — For 10 years, Margaret Silvio has traveled just six miles to the Krotz Springs Community Center to vote. Now, she now has to travel over 20 miles to Port Barre High.
“It is a big inconvenience, especially with the price of gas nowadays. The community center was across the street from where I work,” adds Silvio
One resident tells News Ten he now has to travel an hour round-trip, from Krotz Springs to Arnaudville.
Parish president Jessie Bellard says he is concerned this will deter voters from casting ballots.
Bellard continues, “What’s the incentive to vote if we make it harder.”
Bellard says in 2019 the state asked local governments to look at consolidating precincts to save money.
The request suggested closing any precincts with less than 300 voters.
The council approved an ordinance that reduced the number of voting precincts in the parish from 92 to 53, cutting 39 precincts.
“We are getting back to the drawing board as soon as we can,” Bellard says.
He says they are working to alleviate the situation by adding 13 more precincts by dividing them in alphabetical order.
The move brings the total number to 66 precincts.
“I want to encourage people to vote, make it easier,” explains Bellard.
Bellard says another option to help the situation is adding more convenient locations for early voting.
“I want early voting in Krotz Springs, Sunset, Melville, or Palmetto,” Bellard adds.
As for Silvio, she says she will cast her vote one way or another but prefers to be in person at the polls.
Silvio continues, “I don’t want to do it but I’ll be forced to do it. I’ll have to vote absentee.”