Murrysville voters at Newlonsburg and Sardis could get new precincts under new plan |

Murrysville voters at Newlonsburg and Sardis could get new precincts under new plan

Rich Cholodofsky

Westmoreland County elections officials on Monday approved a revised redistricting plan for Murrysville that will split its two largest precincts.

The amended plan, to be presented for approval next week to Common Pleas Court Judge Chris Scherer, will separate the Sardis voting district nearly in half. That precinct was originally to remain intact under a redistricting plan pitched last month that only included dividing the large Newlonsburg precinct.

“This is going to enhance voter turnout. Having less voters in each district will remedy any long line issues we have had at Sardis,” said Beth Lechman, the county’s elections bureau director.

The redistricting would increase the number of Murrysville precincts from seven to nine.

A group of Murrysville residents sued the county in the spring to redistrict the community’s voting precincts, specifically the Newlonsburg and Sardis regions in which more than 3,500 registered voters were assigned at each. The voters said those precincts were too large and resulted in long lines and waits of several hours on Election Day.

County elections officials last month submitted a proposal that added one precinct in Murrysville by splitting the Newlonsburg district. Questions about the precinct boundaries prevented a similar split of the Sardis district, officials said.

Lechman said those questions were resolved about two weeks ago when the county received a new map from the U.S. Census Bureau that cleared up the boundary lines to ensure that all registered voters were assigned to the proper districts in Murrysville.

The initial redistricting called for Newlonsburg to be split, with 1,490 voters assigned to one precinct that votes at the Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church and 1,654 voters moved to Emmanuel Reformed United Church of Christ.

The proposed Newlonsburg 2 precinct would include the neighborhoods north of the Franklin Regional school campus between School Road South and Cline Hollow Road. The remaining section of the existing precinct will be part of the new Newlonsburg 1 district.

Those changes will be part of the revised plan along with a proposal that will similarly split the Sardis district, with one precinct containing about 1,600 registered voters and a second with 1,800 voters.

The revised Sardis 1 precinct would share a border with Allegheny County at Golden Mile Highway and include areas near Logan Ferry Road to Harvest Drive, Sardis Road and Bulltown Road. The proposed Sardis 2 precinct would run north and west of Sardis 1 and border Washington Township.

Lechman said the revised redistricting plan, if approved, woudn’t be implemented until the April 2020 presidential primary.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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