Efforts made to ease voter traffic at the polls today

In the wake of last November's bond issue election, voters in Kingman's two largest districts will be noticing some changes as they head to the polls today.

To better handle the growing voter turnout in Districts 3 and 4, Mohave County Elections Director Allen Tempert has restructured both districts' polling places: Moose Lodge at 302 Monroe St. and St. Johns Methodist Church at 1730 Kino Ave.

Tempert has made two changes to cut down on long lines. First, voters will be split up by the first letter of their last name. One line will handle A through L; the second line M through Z.

Second, Tempert is doubling the number of election officials at each poll.

"I'm taking a huge district and administratively splitting it to handle it more efficiently," Tempert said. "I've got 18 people that are going to be manning (the Moose Lodge), same with St. Johns."

Election Inspector Christine Mathews helped coordinate the setup at St. Johns on Monday.

She said although it's uncommon, she has seen lines there before that go out the door during peak voting hours.

"We've had some really big (turnouts)," she said. "We're just trying to divide it up."

Tempert and City Clerk Debbie Francis will visit each polling place to assess the traffic. Based on what they see today, he and Francis will consider setting up an additional polling place to divert turnout in future elections. But it may take a while.

Any changes to the voting process require approval by the Department of Justice, which has a minimum 60-day approval period, Tempert said. So if he and Francis see a need for a new polling place, it wouldn't happen until after the city's general election in May.

But with the line-splitting and increased staff in place, Tempert doesn't expect any long lines today.

"That's the goal," he said. "The goal is to get the voter to have as pleasant of an experience as possible."

Tempert also wanted to remind voters to bring proper identification to the polls and to avoid the peak polling hours of 6 to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m.

Voters today are selecting their top choice for mayor from among three candidates: Monica Gates, Bill Nugent and John Salem.

Voters also must choose three of the nine candidates running for City Council: Ron Bahre, Robin Gordon, Allen Mossberg, Travin Pennington, Harley Pettit, Craig Schritter, Todd Tarson, Keith Walker and Carole Young.

Polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.