Editorial: Murrysville needs more polling places | TribLIVE.com

Editorial: Murrysville needs more polling places


If you want people to vote, you can’t make it a challenge.

In two Murrysville precincts, there are just too many voters to make showing up at the polls an easy proposition. Newlonsburg has 3,454 registered voters. Sardis has 3,498.

That’s almost 7,000 voters — nearly half of Murrysville’s overall registered electorate of 15,578 — squished into the Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church and the Christ’s Lutheran Church twice a year to make important decisions about who their leaders will be and what actions will be taken.

The other 8,000 voters get spread between five precincts.

That’s ridiculous, and it explains why 85 voters have petitioned for a redistricting that would relieve the pressure on the two polling places.

“Something needs to be done,” said longtime voter Maury Fey, 82, one of the organizers. “It’s a terrible problem that desperately needs fixed, and it has been getting worse.”

Dividing the two and creating a total of nine voting locations in Murrysville seems obvious. Perhaps creating even more would make sense.

Consider other Westmoreland County polls, like Derry Borough and its population of 2,570. That’s total population, not registered voters. Derry has four wards which vote in three separate locations just a block or two apart.

Derry Township has 14,108 residents — again, not all registered voters. It has 14 precincts and 13 polling places.

So why were Newlonsburg and Sardis residents spending up to an hour in line to cast a ballot when other locations might have had more poll workers than voters?

It’s easy to think it doesn’t really matter. There’s a place to vote. Show up and vote. But turn ing a five-minute process into an hour-long ordeal makes a difference.

Newlonsburg and Sardis had the two lowest voter turnouts in Murrysville. While other polling places were as high as 73%, Newlonsburg was 59%.

No one should be shut out of having a say in government because they can’t physically stand in a line or because they need to pick up kids from daycare or because they will be late for work.

If every vote matters, the process — and the polling places — have to practically accommodate the voters.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.