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York County to divide voting districts, add election polling places

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Voters at York County's busiest polling places could get some relief from long lines and extended wait times next year.

Voting districts in Carroll, East Manchester, Fairview, Springfield, West Manheim and Dover townships will be divided based on recommendations from BonData, a consulting firm in Hummelstown, Dauphin County.

"We’ve been looking at these districts for years, in some instances, and how to alleviate some of the pressure," said York County Commissioner Chris Reilly.

The Board of Commissioners approved the $14,550 contract with BonData on Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Nikki Suchanic, outgoing director of the Department of Elections and Voter Registration, confirmed the county would be dividing some voting districts but said it's still undetermined whether any polling places will have more than one ballot-scanning machine for the next election.

It's also unknown if any districts will be divided into more than two precincts, she said.

A map incorporating the new districts will be ready for review by Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar by Dec. 31, said Tyler Chronister, deputy controller for York County.

The new polling places will be up and running in time for Pennsylvania's 2020 presidential primary, Chronister said.

More:'You should be pretty worried': Fixing York County's election system before 2020 votes

Background: The county rolled out its new voting machines for the Nov. 5 municipal election, and each polling place had one regular ballot-counting scanner and one machine to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But one ballot-scanner per polling place wasn't enough in some precincts, leaving voters to wait in long lines. There were also issues with incorrect paper sizes, and some voters didn't know how to use the machines, officials have said.

To get a better idea of how things went on Nov. 5 and how they could be improved, the  Board of Commissioners approved a $4,000 contract Wednesday with York College to survey York County's judges of elections.

At the state level, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania is forming a review committee to address the issues reported during November's election, party Chairman Lawrence Tabas announced Wednesday in a news release.

The committee will publish its findings and submit a report to the Department of State and General Assembly no later than Feb. 29, the release states.

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