Trumbull eliminates 8 voting locations
Election board to save $25,000 as cuts go to larger communities
WARREN — Trumbull County has cut 36 voting locations since 2015, including eight this year, in an effort to save money and provide “more specialized assistance” to those casting ballots, an elections official said.
The county should save about $25,000 for this election with the reduction of eight polling locations, said Ron Massullo, deputy director of the board of elections.
“This is only one more cost-savings effort that will work effectively to make elections more efficient without jeopardizing the quality of those same elections for our voters,” he said.
By having larger voting locations, the board is able to have more poll workers on hand to provide help to voters who need it, he said.
The reductions have been in larger communities as it’s easier to move those voters to a closer location, Massullo said.
“We have locations in the northern tier with one precinct,” he said. “We haven’t touched the rural parts because that would disenfranchise voters. Not one voter votes outside their subdivision.”
The 16,000 voters impacted by the closure of the eight voting locations this year are receiving letters from the elections board informing them of where they will vote in the Nov. 5 election.
“Two factors strongly affected our changes,” Massullo said. “One is voter turnout (in the places being eliminated) has been very sparse. Two, some of the smaller churches are closing so some of the polling locations don’t open their doors anymore.”
The board is eliminating three locations in Hubbard (city and township combined), and one each in Girard, Niles, Newton Township, Cortland and Bazetta.
“The travel for voters is minimal,” Massullo said. “We look for minimal travel for polling locations.”
The county has had 158 precincts since 2015. It had 92 voting locations that year, then reduced that to 70 in 2017, 64 last year and will now have 56.
Back in 2006, the county had 274 precincts with 133 voting locations.
The county has 130,184 registered voters.
The addition of electronic poll books and ballot scanners makes it easier and faster to vote, Massullo said. The board also has reduced the number of “rovers” — workers who travel among the locations to troubleshoot — from 15 two years ago to four this year, he said.
“The savings is in rent and utilizing less pollworkers as well as eliminating most of our rovers,” Massullo said. “We are comfortable with our footprint now. When you have multiple people in a larger location, we can more easily assist voters so they can get in and out. It’s a more efficient way to handle the elections.”
In Mahoning County, there are no plans to reduce voting locations this year or in the foreseeable future, said Thomas McCabe, deputy director of the board of elections.
There were 416 precincts in 2000 compared to 212 since 2015.
There are 73 voting locations, which is about half the amount from 19 years ago, McCabe said.
There are 160,064 registered voters in the county.
“For the last four to five years, we’ve been in the 70 to 75 range, and we’re comfortable with that,” he said. “Over the years, we have reduced locations. But we don’t want to have people drive across town to vote. Twenty years ago, we had twice as many as we do now, and it was too much.”