Public Forum Held to Discuss Precinct Voting Lines

Houston County Voters Make Their Voices Heard 

By Jason Jones 

Messenger Reporter 

HOUSTON COUNTY – A public forum was held Thursday, December 2 at the Houston County Senior Citizens Center in Crockett to discuss proposed plans to redistrict precinct lines within the county. The voting precinct lines in question involve County Commissioner Precincts 1 and 4.  

The forum was hosted by Houston County’s Elections Administrator Cynthia Lum and approximately 20-25 people attended. According to Lum, the purpose of the meeting was to obtain feedback from affected voters regarding the proposed redistricting, which would be submitted along with the proposal to the County Commissioners Court. 

Following a presentation by Lum which explained the proposed voting precinct map, she covered several frequent questions. Lum explained the difference between consolidation and redistricting or moving of county lines and covered future goals of moving the county toward countywide voting as opposed to precinct voting.  

Discussion regarding the possible closing of the ballot box in Belott sparked engagement among the crowd. “There has never been a good turnout, in fact over the past seven years, a total of 132 people has voted. That is an average of 17.57, round that up to 18 people that vote in each election at that location,” said Lum. “We hire three people to sit there, rent the location out, and they sit there for 13 hours for 18 people to show up.” 

Despite a very diverse crowd, opinions on the removal of the box in Belott were very much on the same page. Party, race, religion nor any other factor seemed to split any thought processes expressed, with most people speaking up in favor of retaining the rural box. Most expressed that they understood the reasoning behind the possible closing of the polling place, but for many it simply came down to a fundamental right. 

“People that live in this community, they like to vote in their community. A lot of people do not vote early because they like to go to their polling places,” one concerned citizen said. “I would like to see all the boxes left open, because it is important for these people who live in these communities. They live there, they socialize there and it’s important for them to have their box.” 

That sentiment was echoed by another citizen “I’m saying that I don’t agree with closing a polling place. That’s where people socialize. That’s where they come to town. You know ‘we’re going to go vote today.’ They need to have their place to do that.” 

Another citizen remarked “Of all the things that really bother me about all of this, is we deal with this every single day as part of the U.S. Congressional 8th District. We’re part of the Woodlands. Nobody cares about us out here. And I don’t want those people in Belott thinking ‘we don’t care about those Belott people.’” 

Voter education was another topic of discussion. With voter apathy being a big problem, especially during years without a Presidential election, many wondered if spending could be increased to not only help voters understand the issues, but other aspects as well. “I think the number of precincts you have open is the least of your worries because you’ve got a lot of people who don’t understand the process” stated one citizen. “A candidate can win a primary election, but many times voters think they’ve already voted, so they don’t vote in the general election.”  

A second forum is scheduled for Tuesday, December 7 at 6 p.m. The meeting will once again take place at the Houston County Senior Citizens Center located at 716 W. Wells St. In Crockett.  

Voters voting in the following precincts are especially encouraged to attend: 

Precinct 5 (First United Methodist Church) – voters in Latexo I.S.D. 

Precinct 8 (Liberty Hill) – voters in Kennard I.S.D. and Crockett I.S.D.     

Precinct 16 (San Pedro Baptist Church) – all voters 

Precinct 12 (Belott Community Church) – all voters 

Precinct 4 (Houston County Senior Citizens Center) only voters along County Road 4540 and those County Roads headed South along Highway 287 S starting at County Road 4520 would be affected. 

The public feedback, along with the redistricting proposal will be presented to the Commissioners Court on December 14. 

Jason Jones may be reached via email at [email protected] 

Similar Posts