BERRYVILLE — Clarke County officials are pondering a name change for the Berryville Voting District to try and eliminate confusion between the district and the town.

A specific new name isn’t yet proposed. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors is “open to hearing ideas” for one, said Berryville District Supervisor Matthew Bass.

Changing the name could keep Berryville residents — including newcomers — from automatically assuming they vote in the Berryville District, officials say.

They acknowledge there’s been a problem with that over the years, considering portions of the town are within four county voting districts.

However, the idea of changing the name “requires some thinking,” said board Vice Chairwoman Terri Catlett, the Millwood District representative.

Along with the Berryville District, parts of the town of roughly 4,000 residents are within the county’s Russell, Buckmarsh and Millwood districts.

The idea of changing the Berryville District’s name first was mentioned during a supervisors work session Tuesday morning.

In some places within the town, one side of a street is in one district while the other side is in another, Bass noted.

Supervisors indicated they understand how voter confusion could occur.

“Let’s see if there’s a desire to change the name” among town officials, said Buckmarsh District Supervisor David Weiss, the board’s chairman.

Weiss suggested that Bass talk to them about it. Bass wasted no time — he discussed the matter with Berryville Town Council during its monthly meeting Tuesday night.

As the Berryville District supervisor, Bass frequently attends council meetings to help him keep abreast of town activities.

“Most people within the Berryville town limits think they’re (supposed to be) voting in the Berryville District,” he told the council.

And, town residents whom he doesn’t officially represent sometimes approach him concerning issues in areas where they live, he said.

Council members didn’t discuss the name change idea at length.

But “the council would like to hear our opinions at some point down the road,” said Councilwoman Kara Rodriguez.

“At some point, we’ll make a decision,” Bass said of the supervisors. “I don’t have a timetable.”

“I personally don’t have a strong feeling either way,” he added.

A total of 11,871 Clarke County residents are registered to vote. Among the five districts, Millwood has the most voters at 2,592, followed by Russell with 2,503, White Post with 2,324 and Buckmarsh with 2,263. The Berryville District has the fewest with 2,189, according to county General Registrar/Elections Director Barbara Bosserman.

If the idea put forward comes to fruition, “nothing would change except for the name of the election district,” Bosserman said.

District voters would still cast ballots at the same polling places, she said.

County Administrator Chris Boies couldn’t be reached Wednesday afternoon for comment on the legal processes involved in changing the Berryville District’s name. Bosserman speculated it would require a change to the county’s code.

“It could possibly help eliminate the confusion” about what district Berryville residents vote in, Bosserman said.

Then again, changing the name could confuse people who’ve voted in the Berryville District for many years, she said.

— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell@winchesterstar.com

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