PITTSBORO — Population and registered voter growth in and around Pittsboro has prompted Chatham County’s Board of Elections to break up two voting precincts into four.
In January, the board unanimously voted to split the existing Manns Chapel precinct into two separate precincts. The precincts will be split with roughly 5,700 voters in the more densely populated eastern quadrant, which includes the Briar Chapel area of Chatham County, and 3,800 registered voters in the larger, but less densely populated western section west and north of Manns Chapel Road.
The board is also seeking name ideas for the two new precincts.
At the board’s upcoming Feb. 21 meeting, a proposal to split the Pittsboro precinct into two new precincts — either north/south or east/west — will also be considered.
“These precincts are two of our largest precincts and the fastest growing in the county,” Pandora Paschal, the director of the county’s elections office, told the News + Record. “The board was concerned about the number of registered voters and what effect this could have on Election Day voting with long lines, constraints on election officials and getting results back to the office faster on election night.”
Now, Mann’s Chapel voters vote at Perry Harrison Elementary School, and Pittsboro votes at the Chatham County Agriculture and Conference Center. When changes to the precincts are approved by the N.C. Board of Elections, voters in those precincts will be notified of precinct change information 45 days before the 2024 Primary.
As of Jan. 3, the Pittsboro precinct had 8,188 voters . At its Feb. 21, the board will consider three potential splits:
• a north/south split delineated roughly along U.S. Hwy. 64 and the Hwy. 64 bypass
• a north/south split delineated entirely along the U.S. 64 bypass
• an east-west split delineated along Old Graham Road going into N.C. Hwy. 87.
The board of elections is seeking feedback about the split, which can be provided by email at email@example.com or by attending the upcoming meeting (virtually or in person), which begins at 5:30 p.m. at the board’s offices at 984 Thompson St., Suite D, in Pittsboro.
For more information, see the board of elections’ notice at https://www.chathamcountync.gov/government/departments-programs-a-h/elections.
In addition, the board will consider formal contracts with Chatham municipalities to stipulate reimbursement for operating elections.
“The municipalities and Goldston Gulf currently reimburse the county for some of the cost, but with the increase of goods and services the county and the board thought this would be a good time to move forward with the contracts,” Paschal said.
Draft contracts for the towns of Siler City, Pittsboro, Cary and Goldston, as well as the Goldston Gulf Sanitary District, drawn up by the county and approved by the county attorney were discussed in January; costs for the contracts haven’t been finalized. Paschal said the board voted to move forward with providing contracts and discussed some changes, which will be reviewed before final approval on Feb. 21.