Jackson Election Commissioner Linda Sanders said on March 18 that her team has sent mails to the registered voters affected by new precinct changes. Photo by Kayode Crown
With three weeks to the municipal primary election, the City of Jackson announced precincts changes in five of the seven wards and have informed those affected by the changes, the city’s election commission chairwoman Linda Sanders told the Jackson Free Press Thursday.
The Democratic and Republican primary elections are on April 6, with a possible run-off three weeks later on April 27, prior to the June 8 general election. Only Wards 2 and 7 are without precinct changes.
"All of the precincts that we put on there about the changes we mailed letters to those voters to advise them," Sanders said. "After communicating with the councilors, and the mayor and everyone, they agreed to the changes that we made."
Ward 1's precinct 45, which used to be in St. Philip's Episcopal Church at 5400 Old Canton Road has temporarily moved to McLeod Elementary School at 1616 Sandalwood Place, adding to the precinct 45 it used to host.
"Because of the pandemic, (the church) opted out of letting us use them now," Sanders told the Jackson Free Press. "So we just followed suit with Hinds County (Election Commission's changes), and we use the same location that they used for (the national) election."
Bonner Institutional Church at 3032 Bishop Ave. will host precinct 12, and St. Luther MB Church at 1040 Banks St. will host precinct 50, both in Ward 3, just for the municipal election.
Wards 4, 5, and 7 have two permanent precinct changes each. Because of French Elementary School's closure, precinct 24 will join precinct 21 at George Kurt's Fieldhouse Gymnasium at 125 Gymnasium Drive. precinct 90, formerly at Woodville Elementary School, will join precinct 100 at Christ Tabernacle Church at 1201 Cooper Road. Both are in Ward 4. Jackson Public School district closed down the two schools in 2018.
In Ward 5, precinct 89, formerly located inside the Metrocenter Mall, shifts to Greater Mount Bethel Church at 4125 Robinson Road, and precinct 54 in Hardy Middle School, which JPS closed in 2020, will move to JPS Career Development Center at 2703 1st Ave. Voting previously in Ward 6’s precinct 96, formerly at Miracle Temple Evangelistic Church at 418 Lakeshore Drive, will move to Fire Station 22 at 1590 Lakeshore Drive; and precinct 94 will shift from Higher Ground Family Worship at 3520 Forest Hill Road to Willowood Community Center at 229 Lake Cove Drive.
The municipal change for precinct 96 mirrored Hinds County Election Commission's similar decision for the 2020 national election, Sanders said. "There was a fire in that facility, so they could not use it anymore," she told the Jackson Free Press.
Absentee voting is ongoing inside Jackson City Hall, which has a disability-compliant voting machine stationed there. "If they want to vote absentee, we do have ADA-compliant (machine) set up in the city hall also, and there is a side ramp that they can come up on to get into the building," Sanders explained.
"The department of the municipal clerk is open for absentee voting for the upcoming April 6, 2021, municipal primary election, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 2. The office will be open on Saturday, March 27 and April 3, 2021, from 8 a.m. to 12," Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba announced March 14 at the city council meeting.
On March 4, City Clerk Angela Harris told the city council that those who recently moved and want to change their voting precinct can come to the city clerk's office until April 3. "If you move after we print the poll books on April 3, you can go to your new voting precinct and vote by affidavit ballot," she added.
Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.