Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Upper Moreland poll relocation sparks controversy

Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to make voting less convenient for residents of one ward. County officials it was merely confusion over building permissions.

Upper Moreland poll relocation sparks controversy

The Montgomery County Election Board today approved poll relocations in Abington, Cheltenham, Pottstown and Upper Moreland, but tabled another proposed move in Upper Moreland to give the public time to weigh in.

Election officials have sought new polling places for Upper Moreland since the spring.  Eastern Center For Arts & Technology, which had previously hosted Wards 3-1 and 3-2, asked to no longer host elections because school leaders said they were a disruption and a safety risk.

On May 2, the Election Board heard a proposal to move Ward 3-1 to Calvary Presbyterian Church and Ward 3-2 to the Regency Towers condos (both sites are on Easton Road).  Republicans objected to Regency Towers due to traffic concerns. 

But at the time, the board could not approve the relocations because the primary election was less than 20 days away.

This week, Regency Towers told the Voter Services office that it doesn't want to host a polling place.  So officials proposed that both wards be moved to Calvary Presbyterian. 

Upper Moreland Democratic Committee Chairman Nick Scull today objected to the removal of Regency Towers.  He alleged that Republicans were exerting pressure to move the polls farther away from the ward, to make it more difficult for people to vote. 

In the May 21 primary, Scull said, only 8 of 300 eligible voters in the ward showed up to cast ballots.

To allow more time for the public to weigh in, the board tabled discussion of Ward 3-2 until the Oct. 3 meeting.  They approved moving 3-1 to Calvary Presbyterian.

For the Nov. 5 municipal election, polling place changes must be completed and posted by Oct. 16.

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Jessica Parks and Carolyn Davis
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