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May 31--  The number of voting places in Toombs County is being reduced from 14 to five.

According to a plan developed by the Board of Elections, voters who currently vote in the nine locations being closed will be directed to one of the new consolidated locations.  They are the Adult Literacy Center at Brinson Road in Vidalia, the Vidalia Police Department, Cedar Crossing, New Branch and Partin Park in Lyons.

Elections Supervisor Carrie Alligood says the move will save the county money.

"If we keep the existing 14 precincts, the buildings that need repairs on them will cost an estimated $259,000.  Many of the buildings would have to be torn down and new buildings built," she says.

Alligood says the popularity of early voting reduces the need for so many voting places.

"You've got 45 days for a mailout ballot and 21 days to come into our office and that's really catching on.  Especially during runoffs, you don't have that many people coming to the precincts and you're spending up to $800 for as few as ten people to vote there.  It's just no longer cost efficient to keep them open.

"When we close these precincts down, it will allow us to put more voting equipment in the new locations and that will really be more efficient," she says.

The plan requires the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice and Alligood hopes to get that in time to hold the 2014 elections in the new voting places.