Owen Co. precinct lines to be changed

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By Molly Haines

An update to Owen County’s election precinct lines is back in swing after being stalled last year.
The process of redrawing the local precinct lines, which started in 2012, was put on hold when the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled the state’s initial plan for statewide legislative redistricting unconstitutional. The districts for the Kentucky House of Representatives and State Senate had to be changed before the local precincts could be redrawn.
The Owen County Board of Elections recently began redrawing precinct lines after a special legislative session where a new plan for House and Senate redistricting was approved and signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
Every 10 years after a census is completed, local governments must reapportion if the population changes by 10 percent.
After the process was completed in 2011, magisterial district lines were changed because some of the districts were not serving an equal population.
Once magisterial district lines change, precinct lines must also change.
Owen County Clerk Joan Kincaid said much of the county will be affected by the change in precinct lines and one precinct could be lost.
Owen County currently has 13 precincts, but the Bethany precinct could be nixed if changes are approved at the state level.
Voters in the Bethany precinct would then be moved into the Monterey, New Columbus and Hesler precincts.
In the past, Kincaid said precinct boundary lines could be imaginary, but now have to follow visible features, such as a creek or road.
Kincaid said the board of elections hopes to have the changes approved by Nov. 6, which is the first day to file to run for public office in the May 2014 primary election.
Although election precinct lines will change, Kincaid said all polling places will remain the same.
Once the changes are approved Kincaid said postcards would be sent to individuals informing them of their new voting precinct.