Ahead of June 2 primary, York County relocates 12 polling places
Lawmakers, officials and poll workers discuss last week's election problems at a Thursday, Nov. 14, debriefing meeting. York Dispatch
Voters in more than a dozen election districts in York County will have new polling places for the June 2 primary, county officials said Wednesday, and more changes could be announced in the coming days.
The York County Board of Elections found new locations to address complaints from voters about parking, capacity and other issues at the former polling places, said York County Commissioner Julie Wheeler.
"Our hope is that these will improve the voter experience when they go to vote on Election Day," she said.
Also, West Manheim Township, which used to have a single polling place for all 5,000 registered voters, has been redistricted and will now have three polling places.
All voters impacted by the changes will receive a new voter registration card with their polling place information, said county solicitor Michelle Pokrifka.
The new polling places are listed below:
- Carroll Township: Monaghan Presbyterian Church, 1185 Gettysburg Pike (changed from the Carroll Township Municipal Building, 555 Chestnut Grove Road).
- Conewago Township, District 1: Conewago Elementary School, 570 Copenhaffer Road (changed from the Conewago Township Municipal Building, 490 Copenhaffer Road).
- Dover Township, District 3: Lighthouse Baptist Church, 5005 Carlisle Road (changed from Bob Hoffman YMCA, 1704 Palomino Road).
- East Manchester Township: Northeastern Middle School, 4855 Board Road (changed from Starview United Church of Christ, 4832 N. Sherman St. Extd.).
- Fairview Township, District 3: New Life Baptist Church, 530 Big Spring Road (changed from Fishing Creek Community Building, 520 Locust Road).
- Jackson Township, District 2: West York Church of The Brethren, 5101 Darlington Road (changed from Northeastern Area EMS Building, 5187 Lincoln Highway West).
- Newberry Township, District 1: Paddletown St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 355 Church Road (changed from Newberry Township Fire Department, 2145 York Haven Road).
- Paradise Township: Paradise Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3241 Church Road (changed from Paradise Township Municipal Building, 82 Beaver Creek Road).
- Springettsbury Township, District 4: Wisehaven Event Center, 2985 East Prospect Road (from Brunswick at Longstown, 2830 Carol Road).
- York Township, 1st Ward, 1st Precinct: Living Word Community Church, 2530 Cape Horn Road (changed from Covenant Moravian Church, 901 Cape Horn Road).
- Springettsbury Township, District 6: Yorkshire Elementary School, 295 Mills St. (changed from Springetts Apartments, 50 Eisenhower Drive).
- York Haven: Susquehanna Fire Co. No. 1, 100 S. Front St. (changed from York Haven Municipal Building, 2 N. Front St.).
- West Manheim Township, District 1: Hanover First Church of God, 600 Fairview Drive.
- West Manheim Township, District 2: South Hanover YMCA, 650 Fairview Drive.
- West Manheim Township, District 3: St. David’s Lutheran Church, 1032 Musselman Road.
There could be other changes to polling places before the primary if the Board of Elections takes advantage of Act 12, which Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law in March.
In addition to postponing the primary from April 28 to June 2, the legislation allows counties to consolidate polling places for the June 2 primary, among other things, in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
"Previously, the law only allowed you to redistrict, and when you did redistrict, you had to have polling locations that were either adjacent or adjoining the prior district," Pokrifka said.
If there's a shortage of poll workers to cover every precinct because of the coronavirus, the allowances in Act 12 could alleviate some of that burden, she said.
The deadline to make a decision about consolidation is this Wednesday, Pokrifka said.
The Board of Elections recessed from their meeting Wednesday to get more information from county election officials about their needs, and the board will reconvene at 2 p.m. Wednesday to deliberate.
Vote by mail: Wolf and state Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar have been encouraging as many Pennsylvania voters as possible to apply for mail-in ballots instead of voting in person in a bid to reduce the number of people who'll be gathering at polling places next month and potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19.
But Wolf and Boockvar said voters who prefer to vote in person will still be able to exercise that right.
As of Wednesday, 26,712 people in York County had applied for mail-in or absentee ballots, or about 9.3% of the county's 288,000 registered voters, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.
Redistricting plans: Late last year, the Board of Elections announced plans to add 23 new voting districts in six municipalities, including those in West Manheim Township, in time for the general election in November.
The goal was, in part, to address voters' complaints of long lines and wait times at some polling places in last year's municipal election.
But that plan proved to be too ambitious in a presidential election year, and the board scaled back its efforts to focus on only one municipality.