The tornado that swept through Jasper last week is affecting an area church in more ways than one.

The elders of the Zion Baptist Church recently voted on closing the church doors, but allow to keep the building open as a polling site. However, the building sustained so much damage from the tornado, area leaders are pushing to have the church closed permanently.

The Zion Baptist Church dates back to the 1800’s. After leaders of the church had noticed dwindling numbers in the congregation, earlier this month they voted to close the church as a place of worship.

For years the church has been a polling site for more than 500 registered voters in the area. With the church being damaged beyond repair, a new question is raised, where will these voters now go?

“We know that is a very rural area so, it’s not a whole lot of things that are out there. So, if they so choose to not to rebuild the building, then we’re going to have to find another location for people to vote,” says Charlie Davis, Jasper County Clerk.

The county clerk has until March to find a new location in the area. A couple things they will need to consider for the new location is if it’s ADA compliant and the proximity of it to the residents.