“I have precincts 1, 2 and 5 with over 2,000 people (each),” Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said. “Once it's 2,999, you can’t have any more people in it, per state law.”
Township officials have decided to redraw precinct boundaries and reduce the number of voters at certain polling locations, and add a seventh precinct.
Township officials worked with the county to ensure that precinct boundaries and the number of voters in each of the seven precincts are evenly distributed, and that they account for future growth.
“It was ultimately what worked best population-wise, and it worked out quite well,” Buitenhuis said.
The Township Board of Trustees’ decision comes on the heels of a decision by the Ottawa County Election Commission on Dec. 17. The commission approved a resolution for a new precinct boundaries map.
The township's newest polling location will be at Hope Reformed Church, near the intersection of Mercury Drive and Groesbeck Street. The seventh precinct will join precincts 2 and 4, also located at the church.
The new precinct encompasses an area that’s north of Alder Creek and Ferris Street, south of Pottawattomie Bayou, and west of 152nd Avenue. It also includes a small section east of 152nd between Pottawattomie and Millhouse bayous.
“We plan on using (the new precincts) in the May election,” Buitenhuis said.
However, Ottawa County Elections Coordinator Justin Roebuck said there isn’t presently a trend toward more polling locations.
“We’re not seeing a great number of new precincts, but that’s because we planned ahead to allow them to grow,” he explained.
To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.