Davis County calls on churches to provide polling locations

Apr 13 2012 - 4:58pm

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FARMINGTON -- For this year's presidential election, Davis voters will have a prayer.

A wide range of church houses in select areas of Davis County are being recruited by Davis election officials to serve as polling locations to handle the anticipated onslaught of voters Nov. 6.

The county currently is making arrangements with officials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for four church buildings, and is also working with a handful of other churches to secure their buildings for polling places. In some instances, the churches are the only buildings large enough to meet the county's space needs in a certain area, Davis County Election Clerk Pat Beckstead said.

"We just need polling locations in those areas," Beckstead said of the agreements, which will pay the churches a "minimal amount" for the use of the buildings, except for the LDS Church, which has agreed to provide its church buildings at no charge to the county.

Using the churches is not new for the county. This year they added to their listing Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Layton because of the space that church's interior provides.

In the 2008 primary, Davis County had 134,400 active voters. That number jumped to 145,000 active voters during the 2008 presidential election, Beckstead said.

Currently, Davis County has 144,000 active voters, but based on what occurred in 2008, officials anticipate that number will increase by at least 10,000 voters heading into the 2012 presidential election.

Beckstead said the county attempted to use public buildings everywhere it could, but the voting population is too large for those buildings alone.

In addition to wanting to use four LDS ward chapels, the county is working with Layton Christian Academy and Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church, both in Layton; Westminster Presbyterian Church and Kaysville Bible Church, both in Kaysville; and Saint Olaf Catholic Church in Bountiful.

The clerk's office also will use the Bountiful Woods Cross LDS Regional Center, 835 N. 400 East, North Salt Lake, as an early voting location, Beckstead said. Early voting begins June 12 and ends June 22.

Having the regional center serve as an early voting polling place should help manage the crowds, which in previous years have casted their early ballots at the South Branch Library in Bountiful, she said.

Other early voting poll locations will be at the Syracuse Community Center, Davis County Central Branch Library in Layton and the Davis County Memorial Courthouse in downtown Farmington.

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