County commissioners scale back redistricting plan before primary

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Voters in York County's busiest election districts will have to wait a bit longer for relief while the county seeks out suitable new polling places to divvy up the largest voting precincts.

Instead of rushing to create 23 new voting districts in six municipalities at the start of a presidential election year, the county will focus on dividing West Manheim Township into two or three districts in time for the April 28 primary.

"After some discussion with the task force, we made some recommendations to the elections board to perhaps pare that down," said county solicitor Michelle Pokrifka at a January meeting.

The county's elections task force includes the commissioners, the solicitor and members of the elections department, the controller's office, the administrator's office and the information technology department.

West Manheim Township has about 5,000 registered voters who use one polling location.

The township will serve as a pilot municipality in the county's redistricting plans, York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler said.

The county is still confirming potential new polling place locations in West Manheim Township, county spokesman Mark Walters said Thursday.

The York County Court of Common Pleas will consider the county's redistricting proposal at a hearing March 6.

It was the previous York County Board of Commissioners that approved an ambitious plan in December to create new voting districts in Carroll, Dover, East Manchester, Fairview, Springfield and West Manheim townships.

In total, those municipalities have about 42,500 registered voters.

The move came after a less-than-stellar rollout of the county's new voting machines in the Nov. 5 municipal election, although Nikki Suchanic, the county's former director of elections and voter registration, said in December that the county had been considering a redistricting plan for years.

On Nov. 5, there was only one ballot scanning machine at each polling place, which left some voters waiting in long lines.

The new board of commissioners recently approved the purchase of 65 new ballot scanning machines from Dominion Voting Systems, as well as four additional machines that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, for a total of 245 regular ballot scanners and 184 ADA-compliant machines.

A shortage of voting machines has often been cited as one cause of the long lines some voters experienced at the polls during the municipal election.

No issues were reported during the Jan. 14 special election to fill the state's then-vacant seat in the 48th Senate District.

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