Supervisor McLarty Apologizes for Parking, Long Lines at District 4 Precinct

By Alyssa Schnugg
News Editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

Lafayette County Civic Center is the District 4 voting precinct.

District 4 Supervisor Chad McLarty admits it took him an hour to vote Tuesday at the new precinct at the Lafayette Civic Center.

When he arrived at the precinct, he found chaos.

“The building is great,” he said. “It’s plenty big enough and has heat and air conditioning. The problem is the parking. People were parking everywhere.”

Local law enforcement was called in to help the traffic situation and McLarty stayed at the precinct to assist.

“Within 30 minutes they got the traffic under control,” he said. “Once we had the parking and traffic more organized and under control, things went much more smoothly in the afternoon.”

Around lunchtime, pedestrian guard rails were put in to help organize the lines of voters waiting to vote.

McLarty said he realizes there were several issues in the morning at the new precinct but he and his fellow supervisors are looking at ways to eradicate those issues for the run-off election on Nov. 27 and all future elections.

“We are going to talk to the owners of the Civic Center to see about expanding some parking,” he said. “We apologize to everyone who had to wait and stand in line and we are going to learn from this and move forward and make things better.”

The new precinct is located off Highway 6 West at 14 Tommie Collie Jane Road. McLarty said the new precinct might not be ideal, but it was the only place the supervisors could find after the University of Mississippi informed the county that the Jackson Avenue Center could no longer be used a precinct about 18 months ago.

“By state law, the precinct has to reside inside District 4,” McLarty said. “That limits us drastically. We talked to hotels but their conference rooms are small and you never know what the parking will be like. The Civic Center allowed us to use their building and we’re thankful to them for that.”

McLarty said he will also be speaking to the Election Commissioners on having more operating voting machines at the precinct.

“There were eight machines there but they could not get the cards coded to keep up so only two were being used,” he said. “We had people standing outside for a long time. I’m just glad it wasn’t raining.”

During the Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday evening, Mayor Robyn Tannehill said the city’s Emergency Management Coordinator Jimmy Allgood brought out a generator and large spotlight to help light up the dark parking lot at the Civic Center.


3 COMMENTS

  1. I was at the Civic Center at 6:20 a.m. Just about every parking space in the two lanes directly in front of the civic center were already taken up by poll workers. I watched many of them go in. Either the poll workers should carpool or the city should bus the poll workers there and then pick them up and bus them back to their cars, which could be parked at the Jackson Civic Center area, with permission.

  2. In the article, McLarty said “By state law, the precinct has to reside inside District 4”
    Are you sure? Mississippi law states:
    23-15-557. Municipality’s authority to establish precincts and polling places.
    The governing authorities of any municipality within the State of Mississippi are hereby authorized and empowered, in their discretion, to divide the municipality into a sufficient number of voting precincts of such size and location as is necessary, and there shall be the same number of polling places. The authority conducting an election shall not be required, however, to establish a polling place in each of said precincts, but such election authorities, whether in a primary or in a general election, may locate and establish such polling places, without regard to precinct lines, in such manner as in the discretion of such authority will better accommodate the electorate and better facilitate the holding of the election.
    Sources: Derived from 1972 Code 21-11-21 [Codes, 1942, 3374-69.7; Laws, 1958, ch. 516;
    repealed by Laws, 1986, ch 495, 329]; en, Laws, 1986, ch. 495, 178, eff from and after January
    1, 1987.

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