FINNEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — Election day means heading out to the polls, but for Finney County residents, it’s not that easy. Several of the old polling places are closed to help save the county money.
“Instead of being one precinct at a voting location, there are now five at one location,” said Elsa Ulrich, Finney County Clerk.
According to officials, Finney County now has half its usual number of polling places. The county commission approved the decrease last year, in an effort to save more than a hundred thousand dollars on new voting machines.
The new machines can now read and record write-in votes
“They get really busy,” said Ulrich. “Some of the locations were too small, so we combined to a bigger location and also allowed us to use or have to purchase fewer machines to cover each polling location.”
Replacing the voting machines at all original locations would have cost more than $240,000. With fewer locations, the machines cost just over $100,000.
The county commission says consolidating polling places was the best way to save taxpayer money.
“Then the rural precincts that we have — Pierceville, Plymell, and Kalvesta — we brought all those back in to vote at the 4-H building,” said Ulrich.
But, that 4-H building isn’t close. It can take some voters as long as 45 minutes to get there. The commission says the furthest precinct, Kalvesta, only sees about 14 voters each election, minimizing the inconvenience.
County commission chair Dave Jones says he was reluctant to remove so many polling places, but he says advance voting and mail-in ballots will help ease the burden for voters.
That still leaves some day-of voters with a long drive ahead of them.
Finney County voters can find their polling place by clicking here and typing in their address.