Editorial: Murrysville needs more polling places
If you want people to vote, you can’t make it a challenge.
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.