The Montgomery County Election Board hit a major snag Thursday when it learned it might be too late to move several polling places.
Under state law, counties must post a public notice 20 days before the election if any polling place is to be moved. The May 21 election is now 19 days away.
After recessing to consult with their solicitor, the board members voted unanimously to approve the relocation of eight sites. Election Board Chairwoman Leslie Richards called those "unavoidable changes" that qualify for an exception to the 20-day limit.
The board will reconvene Friday to take action on three other sites whose move may not be "unavoidable." County officials will contact the site owners to ask if the polling stations can remain in place through the election, Richards said.
One of the problematic sites is in Upper Hanover, where the board proposed moving from St. Paul's Lutheran Church to the Upper Perkiomen Education Center. The board said both political parties had agreed the education center was a better location for a polling place.
The other two are in Upper Moreland, where the Eastern Center for Arts & Technology requested to no longer serve as a polling place because schoolchildren are present during voting hours. The board proposed moving the two Upper Moreland precincts to Calvary Presbyterian Church and Regency Towers.
The potential legal problem was brought to the board's attention by an Upper Moreland commissioner who was concerned about safety and access at the proposed new polling site at Regency Towers.
The Upper Moreland commissioner, Donna Parcell, said the Voter Services department notified her of the vote less than 24 hours before the meeting, giving her little time to prepare.
Polling places to be changed are:
- The UCC Center in Collegeville, which is being sold and vacated.
- Ardmore Baptist in Lower Merion, which closed last year.
- Perkiomen Fire Company, which formerly housed two precincts but has requested elections no longer be held there.
- E.H.& L Fire Company in Pottstown, which has closed.
- Chesmont Building in Pottstown, which is no longer available.
- Trinity Lutheran Church in Upper Dublin, which has accessibility problems.
- Upper Dublin High School, which will continue to serve as a polling place for the 2-1 precinct, while the 2-2 precinct moves to a site in its own jurisdiction.
Information on polling sites can be found on the county's website at www.montcopa.org.