BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – Due to recent redistricting, Bedford County is no longer in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District, except for one home.
This means the county will hold a primary for just two voters.
Patrick Hancock and his fiancé are the only two people in Bedford County who will be eligible to vote next month in the 6th District Republican primary between U.S. Representative Ben Cline and Merritt Hale.
The couple’s house is on the border of Bedford and Roanoke counties.
“I found out about that last week,” Hancock says. “I was really kind of shocked. It’s like how is that possible?”
The Bedford County Registrar’s Office says it is and they call it a split precinct. While it’s not uncommon, it is the smallest one they’ve ever seen and it’s costly.
“You really don’t cut corners with an election,” Barbara Gunter with the Registrar’s Office says. “With any election, we’re required to be open 45 days prior to the election for early voting. We have to be open two Saturdays for early voting. On election day, we’re required to staff a precinct with a minimum of three people.”
Equipment and staffing are expected to cost the county $2,500. There’s no way around that, even though Hancock and his fiancé don’t plan to vote.
“I won’t be voting in the primary,” Hancock says. “I’m a libertarian and don’t feel right voting in another party’s primary.”
Localities are redistricted every 10 years based on the latest census.
Bedford County’s 5th District includes Boonsboro, Forest and Evington area. The rest of the county is in the 9th District, minus the Hancock house.
“They’re actually assigned to the precinct on election day,” Gunter says. “When these two voters come in to vote they’ll have their own separate ballot style with different candidates on the ballot.”
She adds that the two won’t always be the only ones involved in their precinct. However, this situation will come up each time there’s a 6th District primary.