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Elections board breathes new life into Rutherford, Hickory Grove polling places

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Fiscal court to meet Monday to decide on funds to fix Rutherford

By Ben Carlson

Just days after the Anderson County Fiscal Court left them for dead, the Anderson County Board of Elections on Friday revived — for now — polling places at Hickory Grove and Rutherford.

The western Anderson County locations will be surveyed for a third time, but only after the fiscal court has a chance to correct any shortcomings that caused them to fail two previous surveys.

The surveys are conducted by the Kentucky Disabilities Coalition to determine handicap accessibility.

On Tuesday, the fiscal court declined to make repairs to those two polling places. Two more — Western Masonic Lodge and McBrayer Stringtown Ruritan Club — could not be fixed because they are private property. Those two were moved by the board of elections, with a promise to move them back if they are brought back into compliance.

The fiscal court will hold a special called meeting Monday at 8 a.m. to determine if it will spend money to fix the parking lot and doorways at Rutherford.

During Friday’s meeting, Judge-Executive John Wayne Conway said he estimates the cost to fixing problems at Rutherford would be $5,000.

As for Hickory Grove, another survey has been requested, this time to see if removing fire trucks from the bays and items from the bay walls will pass muster with the disabilities coalition. The polling place has failed twice based on voting machines being placed in an office area, where there isn’t enough required room to navigate a wheelchair, along with issues with an external door.

This time, the survey will determine if wheelchairs can be navigated directly into a truck bay.

The closing of Western, Rutherford and Hickory and moving them into Turner Elementary sparked outrage of western Anderson County residents and members of the fiscal court due to the lengthy drive voters would have to make, along with the loss of identity in that portion of the county.

For more on this story, see Wednesday’s edition of The Anderson News.