The Brunswick County Board of Elections has been busy orchestrating an election of sorts.
It’s not exactly an “election,” but the gist is this: The public is invited to cast comments on proposed precinct and polling-site changes, and you still don’t have to have a voter ID.
According to a press release sent out last month by board of elections director Sara Knotts, it’s been more than a decade since county precinct boundaries and polling sites have undergone a thorough examination.
The board cites the county’s rampant growth, along with “changing demand in requirements of polling-place facilities, including recent COVID-19 precautions” as two main reasons to help ensure voters have access to convenient polling sites.
Recommended changes include reconfiguring a central precinct in the Shallotte area, adding a precinct in the southwest portion of the county where construction is booming and use of more schools on Election Day.
The board is also considering changing to alphanumeric names for the county’s current listed 25 precincts (number subject to change) instead of traditional monikers. That could likely mean the demise of some of the county’s more colorfully labeled precincts, including Frying Pan, Mosquito, Secession and Shingletree.
I’m not sure how these precincts got their names, but I would like to know.
Frying Pan, encompassing voters in the Shallotte Point area, could be so named for its sort-of proximity to Frying Pan Shoals south of Bald Head Island. According to my scrutiny of Google Maps, along with my tape measure, the two sites are about 21 miles apart as the crow flies or boat sails. For those going by car, it takes a little longer.
It’s easy to deduce the two Mosquito precincts, No. 1 situated at Virginia Williamson Elementary School in Bolivia and No. 2 at the St. James Community Center on N.C. 211, are in celebration of Brunswick County’s least favorite insect and perhaps a so-named marshy area where the little suckers breed.
There must be a more independent-minded spirit and history behind the Secession 1 and 2 precincts at Lockwood Folly and Sabbath Home Road in Supply.
All the other precinct names seem to be pretty aptly named for geographical areas of the county where they’re situated — Belville, Bolivia, Supply, Shallotte…
But if you live in Sunset Beach or Calabash, especially if you’re a newcomer, you might get perplexed when assigned to vote at Shingletree 1 (mostly Sunset Beach) or Shingletree 2 (Calabash and Carolina Shores). To add to the confusion, Shingletree 1 seems a little mixed-up, with some Calabash residents sent to vote in the Sunset Beach precinct. They don’t understand it, either.
This past November presented even more of a conundrum when Shingletree 1’s stakes were completely pulled up and moved to Jessie Mae Monroe Elementary School — not in Sunset Beach, not in Calabash, but eight miles to the north in Ash.
This is about all I can provide in this first lesson about Brunswick County precincts without my head spinning off.
So for now, people have until 5 p.m. April 15 to fill out a public comment survey at forms.gle/KDKtaRfRfJ6REuzh6.
Details about proposed precinct changes can be found on the board of elections website at brunswickcountync.gov/elections/2021precinct.
The matter will be reviewed for further consideration and possible action at the board’s regular meeting April 19, which takes place at 10 a.m. in Brunswick County Commissioners’ Chambers at the David R. Sandifer Administration Building. Limited in-person seating will be available.
People who don’t have computers can call the elections office at 253-2620 to register comments.
Laura Lewis is editor of the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.