Albany municipal election early voting off to slow start

ALBANY — Albany Elections officials said Friday only 31 of the almost 11,000 registered voters in Albany’s Wards II and III had cast ballots during the first week of early voting in the city’s municipal election.

Ward II incumbent Ivey Hines is facing the challenge of Bobby Coleman and Demetrius Love, while Ward III’s Christopher Pike is being challenged by Cheryl Calhoun and B.J. Fletcher.

“We don’t have specific expectations (concerning voting numbers),” Elections Supervisor Ginger Nickerson said Friday. “But there are around 11,000 registered voters between those two wards.”

The municipal election is the first under the redistricting plan approved by the U.S. Justice Department based on numbers from the 2010 census. Nickerson said that plan included moving a number of voters out of Ward V into Wards II and III.

“The majority of the voters (moved into new districts) are in Precinct 2, the Sherwood Elementary Precinct,” she said. “(The voters redistricted) were split between (wards) II and III.

“We sent out new registration cards, and we’ve certainly advertised (the fact that some voters were moved into new wards). We’ve put up new maps, and there were forums held before the redistricting was approved. But it’s become natural for (voters) not to really look at their new registration cards when they get them.”

Voters in Wards II and III have two more weeks in which to cast early ballots before the Nov. 5 election. Early voting is being conducted at the downtown Elections office from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays through Nov. 1. Election-day voting will be conducted at 10 of the county’s 28 precincts from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The five precincts in Ward II include Precinct 1, Palmyra Methodist Church; Precinct 2, Sherwood Elementary School; Precinct 15, Phoebe Education Building; Precinct 17, Jackson Heights Elementary School; and Precinct 24, Albany Middle School. The seven precincts in Ward III include the split Precincts 2 and 15; Precinct 3, Covenant Presbyterian Church; Precinct 6, Merry Acres Middle School; Precinct 12, Carver Teen Center; Precinct 13, Shiloh Baptist Church; and Precinct 14, Litman Cathedral.

Nickerson said the split precincts include portions of Wards II and III.