New Castle News

November 19, 2013

Court considers district changes

John K. Manna
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Lawrence County President Judge Dominick Motto received no objections yesterday to proposed changes in some county election districts.

Motto conducted a hearing on the plan that would consolidate some districts and add others in the county. Overall, changes would be made in nine municipalities resulting in a net reduction of districts from 79 to 75.

The changes have been approved by the county Board of Elections and require the approval of the court and then the Pennsylvania Department of State before they can take effect. The goal is for the new maps to take effect for the May 2014 primary election.

Residents had the opportunity to file written comments with the court prior to the hearing. County elections director Ed Allison said no comments were filed.

County solicitor Thomas Leslie explained to Motto the purpose for the changes, saying some districts have more than the maximum 1,200 registered voters allowed by the state election code. The result with the map changes will be to have all districts below the maximum.

The election code also requires districts to have no less than 300 voters.

County Commissioner Dan Vogler said the board of elections believes the changes “will allow for a smoother operation” on primary and general election days. Plus, it will “ultimately” reduce costs for the county, he said.

The board of elections is comprised of the three commissioners.

Under the proposal:

•New Castle would lose one district in the Sixth Ward.

•Scott, Neshannock and Shenango townships would each gain a district.

•North Beaver and Wayne townships would each lose two districts and Mahoning and Slippery Rock townships would each lose one district.

•The number of districts in Union Township would remain at four, but boundaries would be shifted to shrink the two larger districts.