NORRISTOWN - The Montgomery County Board of Elections is meeting on Monday May 11 and plans to act on a proposal to temporarily move and condense many polling locations for the upcoming Presidential Primary scheduled for June 2.
Currently, Montgomery County operates 425 polling places and the plan will allow them to reduce to only 140 polling locations. While at first glance it seems odd to "condense" anything concerning the general public at this time, the reasoning behind this move, which has developed over the last 2 weeks, is actually a plan to help deal with COVID and social distancing during the voting process.
We reached out and spoke with County Commissioner Joe Gale who has been outspoken on the topic of elections under the current conditions. Gale has openly opposed an all mail-in election. Gale has been part of the committee working to help formulate a plan which aims to provide safe and private access to the voting process for all of Montgomery County's citizens.
Gale cited this plan as a good compromise that moves polling locations from smaller locations to larger facilities, the County will aim to use mainly school gyms and auditoriums which allow the space to help ensure proper social distancing can be adhered to. The County will also be able to professionally sanitize all locations after use and return the locations to their normal state after election day. Schools are a great location for this temporary plan as it will have no impact on staff or students, added Gale.
Gale highlighted how retirement communities for example are currently used for polling places. Our seniors are people we need to protect at this time so we do not want to encourage the public to visit these facilities to vote, added Gale.
It is also important to note, staffing election polling places always represents a challenge for the County, or any Body overseeing an election. Senior Citizens make up the majority of election staff and as they rightfully quarantine, these spots are only going to get harder to fill, by staffing only 140 locations, this will lessen the County's burden.
As far as this plan being coming permanent, Gale advised he is currently not aware of any long term plans to leave these new locations in place.
If you are interested in working a polling location, please reach out to the office of Voter Services via email email@example.com or call 610-278-3275
If you would like to request a mail-in ballot be sent to you, please click here. You have to request 7 days before the election.
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