SANATOGA PA – This year’s general election is over. By the time the next rolls around, however, a significant number of voters in Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township may find themselves casting ballots in a different and entirely new location.
Republican and Democrat political party leaders locally and in Montgomery County have agreed on a proposal to split in half township Voting District 2, geographically its largest of four districts. The division would create a new district, No. 5, with Sanatoga’s Sunnybrook Ballroom suggested as its polling place. Each half would encompass an almost identical number of voters.
A new district is sorely needed, Pottstown party representatives say, to better serve the growing township’s electoral needs.
More people call Lower Pottsgrove “home.” Thanks to residential development that occurred primarily between 2004 and 2008, the township’s population grew from 11,213 residents under the 2000 Census to 12,059 under the 2010 Census. Many of the housing communities to which new residents were attracted are located within District 2.
Currently, about 3,200 voters are assigned by the county to use the District 2 polling place at Berean Bible Church, 2675 E. High St., Sanatoga. During years in which elections have been heavily contested – the 2008 presidential race is cited as an example – voter wait times there were said to have been long and occasionally frustrating.
The plan has been discussed over several months by Pottstown Republican Committee head Gail Yoder and Pottstown Democratic Committee leader Jim Prendergast, and accepted by higher-ups in both parties. Paperwork officially requesting the division is completed and was submitted during September (2011) to the county Voter Services Department in Norristown, Yoder and Prendergast said.
County election board officials are inclined to accept and act on the request, both leaders agreed, but a change likely will not occur until after state legislative and federal Congressional re-districting is finalized next year. New state district boundaries were introduced earlier this month; new Congressional districts have not yet been unveiled.
Viewed on a county map (above), District 2 (in orange) is shaped somewhat like a puzzle piece. It stretches roughly from the intersection of Buchert and North Pleasant View Roads at its north end, to the Schuylkill River and the rear of the former Occidental Chemical property, now an industrial park, at its south. At the east side it is defined by the border between Lower Pottsgrove and Limerick townships, and by Kepler Road at its widest part on the west.
Districts 1 and 3 (in blue and purple on the map), by comparison, are rough rectangles that cover central and west portions of the township from north to south. District 4 (in green) is a rough square in the township’s northeast quadrant.
The submitted proposal would split District 2 lengthwise, according to Prendergast, roughly using North Pleasant View as its dividing line. About 1,600 district voters who live west of North Pleasant View would vote at Sunnybrook; an almost equal number of those east, at Berean. Districts 1, 3 and 4 and their polling places would remain unchanged.