New Murrysville voting precincts approved
Murrysville voters in the Newlonsburg and Sardis precincts will likely be standing in long lines on election day this November.
The good news? It will be the last time.
On Monday morning, Westmoreland County Judge Chris Scherer approved a redistricting plan that will split the massive precincts — which have more than 3,500 registered voters each, more than three times the maximum size of a voter precinct allowed under state law — adding a new polling place to each.
“There will be a lot of very happy people on election day, starting in 2020,” said Maury Fey of Murrysville, who along with Murrysville-Export Republican Committee Chair Tom Wubben began pushing in December 2018 for the county elections bureau to re-examine the two precincts. Voters in both the 2016 and 2018 elections endured long lines and wait times up to two hours.
A Tribune-Review analysis after the 2018 midterms showed that about 15 percent of Westmoreland County precincts exceed the state’s recommended precinct size. Very few though, approached the level of the Newlonsburg and Sardis precincts.
Fey and Wubben joined with members of the Murrysville-Export Democratic Committee in petitioning the courts to start the redistricting process, then began working with the elections bureau to create the new precincts.
“I think the election bureau pretty much went with the map we drew up,” Wubben said.
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.
“We’re going to reduce those lines considerably,” Wubben said. “We’re very happy with it.”
The changes will go into effect in time for the presidential primary election in the spring of 2020.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .