Morgan County used to have seven voting precincts, but the Morgan County Council approved more than doubling that to 15 in an effort to make boundaries more understandable.
According to state statute, each precinct cannot have more than 1,250 active voters. The largest new precinct is just over 600, which allows “room for growth” for years to come, Morgan County Councilman Ned Mecham said.
Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Cannon said it was important to not only consider the numbers, “but what it looks like on the ground,” taking into account subdivision and neighborhood boundaries, as well as physical characteristics such as rivers, mountains and roads. “We need to make it a workable thing. People want to precinct with a neighborhood and people they have common interests with. These (precinct boundaries) should be representative of people.”
Mecham said the old precinct boundaries didn’t make sense on the ground. For example, his home at the Stoddard crossroads was considered part of a Mountain Green precinct. The west side of Island Road was part of the Milton precinct. A portion of Peterson was part of the Mountain Green Highlands precinct.
“That section of Peterson felt they were no longer voting with their community,” Cannon said.
“The new precinct boundaries now make sense and are easy to explain to constituents,” Mecham said.
“I am happy with the precinct boundaries. For planning and zoning purposes, it works much better,” Cannon said. “But nothing is perfect.”
Mecham said he informed the county’s Democratic and Republican parties about the change before the county council made the official vote “so they didn’t think we were being sneaky or gerrymandering.” The proposed changes were also posted on the county website for public viewing before the council’s final vote Dec. 15.
Because the Morgan County Republican Party has both a chair and co-chair, doubling the number of precincts means doubling the number of Republican Party members serving as chair and co-chair and taking an active part in caucus meetings. The Republican Party thinks they are up to the challenge, Mecham said.
County Democrats meet together regardless of district and precinct boundaries for their caucus meetings, so the number of precincts likely will not change how they do business in Morgan.
Morgan’s two senate districts and five voting districts will remain the same. But Mecham noted a 2020 census may change the two senate districts in the future. Voting district boundaries determine what location a resident would vote at if not voting by mail.
With the new changes, each of the five voting districts will have three precincts each. Cannon said the most difficult part of drawing the boundaries was between Precincts 1 and 2, Mountain Green’s Highlands and Whisper Ridge. She said for now, the Highlands won’t be in the same precinct. However, as Rollins Ranch grows, she predicts a precinct boundary change in the future that will unite the Highlands.
1,276 registered voters. Represented by Morgan County Councilwoman Tina Cannon and Morgan County School Board Member Ron Blunck.
Includes precincts 1 (479 voters), 2 (450 voters) and 3 (347 voters) in Highlands, Whisper Ridge, Trappers, Rollins Ranch and Bradshaw subdivision.
1,142 registered voters. Represented by Morgan County Councilman John Barber and Morgan County School Board Member Ted Taylor.
Includes precincts 4 (452 voters), 5 (299 voters) and 6 (391 voters) in Cottonwoods in Mountain Green, Peterson and Enterprise to the I-84 overpass.
1,058 registered voters. Represented by Morgan County Councilman Robert Kilmer and Morgan County School Board Member Ken Durrant.
Includes precincts 7 (354 voters), 8 (288 voters) and 9 (399 voters) in Stoddard, Littleton, Richville, Porterville, Hardscrabble and South Morgan Valley Drive.
1,195 registered voters. Represented by Morgan County Councilman Daryl Ballantyne and Morgan County School Board Member Mark Farmer.
Includes precincts 10 (513 voters), 11 (334 voters) and 12 (399 voters) in Morgan City on the south side of the Weber River.
1,103 registered voters. Represented by Councilman Austin Turner and Morgan County School Board Member Neil Carrigan.
Includes precincts 13 (594 voters), 14 (429 voters) and 15 (81 voters) in North Morgan, east side of Morgan City, Round Valley, Taggart’s and Croydon.