MURRYSVILLE (KDKA) — Long lines of voters at the Newlonsburg Presbyterian Church in Murrysville and nearby Sardis Christ Lutheran Church are becoming all too familiar.
“In two of the precincts, we have three times the maximum number of voters permitted by law,” said Maury Fey, a long-time poll worker in Murrysville.
Election districts should have no more than 1,200 voters, but these two districts have over 3,600.
“Terribly long lines,” Fey said.
He says the wait to vote is more than an hour and a half.
“From where people go in to vote in the church hall, the line goes all the way down to the next street and around the corner, and that’s ridiculous,” Fey said.
Precincts with too many people not only inconvenience folks as they have to wait in line for an hour to an hour and a half to vote, it’s also a form of voter suppression.
Lots of people just won’t wait that long and so they won’t vote, and both political parties in Murrysville say that’s not right.
Under Fey’s leadership and with Republican and Democratic Party support, 85 registered voters filed a court petition to split the two over-sized precincts.
“It was a bi-partisan effort,” said Tom Wubben, chairman of the Murrysville-Export Republican Party.
Wubben says his Democratic counterpart, Susan Steward-Bayne, agrees the lines are too long.
“In 2016, the lines were over an hour long at 8 o’clock when the polls closed for the presidential election, and last year, the lines were that long too,” Wubben said.
The matter now goes to the Westmoreland courts, after which the Board of Elections, chaired by County Commissioner Chuck Anderson, will act.
“The plan right now for Murrysville is to have this done by November,” Anderson told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. “We need to reduce waiting times and get everyone’s vote counted.”