Voters to see fewer polling stations for January primaries

About 20 percent of the York County polling locations won't be open in January for the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

Instead, 13 of the 63 precincts will be combined with other voting locations, said Wanda Hemphill, director of the York County Registration and Elections Office.

Reducing the number of voting locations is only temporary and stems from attempts to save money in county budgets that were submitted before primary elections were scheduled for two separate days. Hemphill said a lot of the counties in South Carolina are doing this. A bill passed by the state Legislature in June allows a county to combine polling places to cut costs.

Hemphill hasn't totaled the savings from reducing polling locations for the Jan. 19 Republican and Jan. 26 Democratic primaries. She said additional cost-saving measures may be taken.

In Chester County, the decision to combine some polling sites upset some local black leaders, who claim the move will deter black and elderly voters from going to the polls.

York County hasn't released which 13 locations won't be open in January. Hemphill said that information will be available once the locations are finalized with the Department of Justice. She said they'll be the same for both elections.

Newly added precincts, such as those created from dividing the museum district, will be open so people get used to voting there, Hemphill said.