Published: Dec 13, 2011 4:21 AM EST
Updated: Dec 13, 2011 4:30 AM EST

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla -- Voters in Collier County may notice some changes when they head to the polls to vote next month.

The county is consolidating it's 94 precincts in an effort to save money and make the voting process more efficient.

Registered voters in Collier County will get a new voter identification card in the mail.

Some will be unaffected, but others will find out they will be voting in a new location in January.

Chief Deputy Supervisor of Elections for Collier County Tim Durham says, "back in 2002, 80 percent voted on election day and a small number voted absentee, but since then the numbers voting before election day has really exploded."

Durham says that an increase in absentee and early voting over the last decade and electronic poll books triggered the county to request a change. They asked the Department of Justice if they could consolidate its 94 precincts down to 62. They got that approval this week.

He says, "we had to reorient our focus in how we serve our voters because ultimately at the end of the day that's our goal is to service our voters the best way possible."

The change also means the number of polling sites will go from 84 down to 60. Durham says they don't expect cost savings to be felt right away but long terms he says the changes will improve service to Collier County voters and save money.

"When we grow more comfortable with it and go through some elections we'll realize some savings. Ultimately it will mean fewer poll workers,"
Durham said.

Another savings will be felt when the county is required by law to buy new voting machines. "That can be quite expensive," says Durham. "They're anywhere from $5,000-$6,000 so that's another cost consideration.

Other counties are waiting until the state does its redistricting to make changes. In Collier County, leaders say it was important they get this done before the presidential preference primary so there will be minimal changes heading into the general election.