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CLINTON — The Clinton County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing next month on the proposed combining of voting precincts.

The Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution setting a public hearing to review proposed voting precincts in Clinton County. The public hearing will begin at 10 a.m. Dec. 20.

The public hearing is required to approve the county’s reprecincting plan, which is currently being developed, Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker said. The county needs to wait for the cities of Clinton, Camanche and DeWitt to finish their plans before proceeding with theirs, Van Lancker said. The county has been in contact with those cities for a while working on this, Van Lancker said. The other three cities also have to reprecinct, Van Lancker said.

“This is not a typical reprecincting process,” Van Lancker said. “Usually we have a lot more time, up to 90 days, and we don’t have that this time. It has to all be done by January 15. So we’re shooting for the end of the year to get ours done. And I think we should be able to make that.”

The timing this year is limited due to the census information release being late, Van Lancker said.

The county proposal is to reduce the number of precincts in the county from 26 precincts to 24, Van Lancker said. The Liberty Township and City of Toronto precinct will be voting in Wheatland under the proposal, Van Lancker said. This is what the county has been doing since COVID-19, Van Lancker said.

“Quite honestly, it’s something I probably should have done 10 years ago when I first did this,” Van Lancker said. “But I was only a year and a half in. But these last 10 years have definitely shown that it would be more efficient to combine those two precincts.”

Toronto Mayor Brenda Kay expressed support for Van Lancker’s plan, according to Clinton County Supervisor Dan Srp. She was “fully supportive of this change” from Toronto’s perspective, Srp said.

They appreciate her understanding, Van Lancker said. They contacted her during the pandemic and asked to which precinct to move Toronto because Lost Nation is about an equal distance from Wheatland, Van Lancker said. After speaking with Kay and a few other people, they decided the typical traffic from Toronto is to Wheatland, Van Lancker said. They are happy to have her support in this, Van Lancker added.

The other proposed change is to move the Center Township precinct from Elvira Lutheran Church to Goose Lake and combine the two precincts, Van Lancker said. He referenced the challenge to get poll workers at both locations.

“For a general election, we’ve got to have at least three poll workers there,” Van Lancker said. “The amount of people who vote at those locations is very low.”

The county still offers absentee voting, Van Lancker noted. The county typically offers satellite voting in DeWitt, he said.

“I can’t set that up now but I know already people are talking about they’ll make sure to get a petition in so then I’m allowed to do that,” Van Lancker said. “So we still have those options.”

One hundred signatures will be required to be able to host satellite voting at the Clinton County Satellite Office in DeWitt, Van Lancker said.

They plan to get information out to the public next week, Van Lancker said.

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