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JEFFERSON, Tx. - Marion County is switching things up when it comes to voting.

This year, voters may not have to go to a certain precinct to vote.

Mary Spearmon says she used to have to travel more than 20 miles just to go vote.

"When I worked, I had to make sure that I either went on my lunch break or I had to try to leave work early," said Spearmon.

But thanks to a new county proposal, she may not have to any longer.

Marion County submitted an application to the secretary of state for a countywide voting program.

"This way, you don't have to worry about that," Spearmon said. I work in jefferson so I can just vote here without having to go all the way home 27 miles then turn around and come back."

This allows voters to vote at any polling location regardless of their precinct.

"If they're in town, if they live like out in the county rural, if they're in town buying groceries, or at the doctors office on election day, they can go to any of the location in town," said Marion County Clerk Vickie Smith. "And vice versa, if they live in town, but they're out at the lake or out toward Smithland on the east end of the county, they can vote at those polling locations as well."

Smith says the county needs money to buy new voting equipment.

"There is no funding now," Smith said. So, they're looking at buying new equipement so it will be cost effective for voting machines. It will also be cost effective as rentals for the buildings that we have to pay rent on for polling locations."

She says, if approved, the county will reduce their polling locations from 10 to seven. And if the Secretary of State deems the project successful, then there will be five.

"So, if we go down to five, it won't cut the cost in half because we'll still have to have more machines because we'll have more people coming into that," Smith said. "We're looking at quite a bit of cost savings.

Spearmon says it's a win - win situation.

"We want to vote," said Spearmon. "That's one of our privileges and to be able to vote anywhere, I think it's great."

Smith says the county will know if they're approved by September 12. And if approved, voters will start using the polling centers this year's election.


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