County Elections Department submits resolution to state for polling place consolidation
April 28, 2020
The Allegheny County Elections Division has submitted a resolution passed by the Board of Elections to the Department of State to consolidate polling places. The resolution was accompanied by an outline of a plan for the consolidation of present polling places into likely 200-300 locations.
There will be no fewer than one polling place per municipality, with the exception of the City of Pittsburgh which will have no fewer than nine polling places. The communication also emphasized the expectation is that in larger municipalities, there will be multiple polling places, but work will be done to provide they are housed within the same location. As appropriate, additional or alternate locations will also be identified to further the goal of physical distancing when a large volume of in-person voters are expected.
The primary goal of the plan is to move polling places to a central, easily identifiable and accessible location in each municipality. Currently, 70 municipal buildings are used as polling places and there are another 10 polling places in buildings attached to a municipal building; for example, a municipal library. These locations are being given first consideration because they already meet the requirements for polling places.
The Elections Division is reaching out to each municipality, looking at the number of registered, eligible voters in each municipality and polling place, and continuing to review the number of voters in that community who have applied for an absentee or mail-in ballot. Each location selected will have sufficient space, parking and handicapped access and will be appropriately equipped with ballot marking devices for ADA voter use.
Continuing correspondence and communication will be provided to the Department of State so there is a full understanding of the polling places being utilized. The Elections Division webpage will also be updated with information on an ongoing basis to provide information.
Under normal circumstances, Allegheny County utilizes 1,323 polling places and approximately 6,500 elected and appointed poll workers. The Elections Division has been receiving calls from a large number of those workers that they are unable or unwilling to work due to their concerns with COVID-19.
Due to the unprecedented conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to further the goals of mitigating the impact of the virus in our county, the Board of Election considered and passed a resolution at its last meeting providing that consolidation of polling places provide there be no fewer than 138 locations to allow for the orderly, efficient and fair conduct of the upcoming 2020 General Primary Election.