LEWISTON – A plan to have all voters go to a single polling place may save money, but it will discourage voters, councilors were told Tuesday.

“Lewiston already has one of the lowest rates of voter turnout in the state,” said Nathan Libby, of 59 Webster St. “If you decide to close three out of four polling places, it does nothing to encourage turnout. It does the opposite.”

A plan to consolidate voting to a single polling place was presented as part of City Administrator Jim Bennett’s proposed budget. It would close all of the city’s polling places, sending all Lewiston voters to the Mulit-Purpose Center to cast their ballots.

Voters in Wards 1 and 3 now go to the Lewiston Memorial Armory, 65 Central Ave. Voters in Ward 2 go to Montello Elementary School, 407 East Ave. Voters in Wards 4, 5 and 7 go to the Multi-Purpose Center, 145 Birch St. Voters in Ward 6 go to the Elks Lodge, 1675 Lisbon Road.

Councilors didn’t act on the plan Tuesday, but listened to what people had to say.

“Twenty years ago, we had a dozen polling places,” said Walter Hill, the chairman of the Lewiston Democratic Party. “When we’ve reduced them like we have, we’ve taken out the human aspect. It sends a not-so-subtle message that saving money is important, but voting is not.”

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