Five new election precincts added to St. Mary’s -- Gazette.Net


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Five precincts have been added to St. Mary’s County as a result of changes to state legislative districts and a growing population.

In addition, some people will be voting in new locations in the 2014 election and the early voting location in Leonardtown may be moved to another nearby building.

The 2014 primary election is scheduled for June 24.

There are two new precincts in Valley Lee, a new precinct for the Wildewood neighborhood in California and two new precincts in the 8th Election District — the Lexington Park area. There will be 36 polling places in St. Mary’s County next year.

The changed legislative map added Medley’s Neck, Valley Lee, Callaway, most of the Wildewood neighborhood in California and the west side of Indian Bridge Road to District 29C, a seat currently held by Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert). Patuxent River Naval Air Station was added to District 29B, currently represented by John Bohanan (D-St. Mary’s).

here are only about 100 voters registered in St. Mary’s County at Pax River, said Chris Quade, election information system specialist for the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections.

Precincts 2-3 and 2-4 were created for the District 29C. Precinct 2-3’s polling place is at Piney Point Elementary School and Precinct 2-4 is at the Valley Lee firehouse.

Precincts 8-11 and 8-12 are new. The polling place for 8-11 is at Spring Ridge Middle School. The polling place for 8-12 is at Greenview Knolls Elementary School.

Precinct 3-6 was created for the newer sections of the Wildewood neighborhood. The polling place is at Evergreen Elementary School.

The only change to District 29A was that the Benedict area of Charles County was removed. That seat is currently held by Del. John F. Wood Jr. (D-St. Mary’s, Charles).

Precinct 8-11 had to be carved out of the Park Hall area because there were too many voters in Precinct 8-4. The St. Mary’s County Board of Elections tries to keep 2,500 to 3,000 voters to a precinct. There were 4,000 voters in Park Hall. Precinct 8-11 will have about 1,800 voters now from Pax River, Cedar Cove and the east side of Route 235 southward.

Two existing precincts will have new polling places in 2014. Precinct 8-8 moves from Evergreen Elementary School to the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center. A school can only have two polling places — in the gymnasium and cafeteria, Quade said, and Evergreen already had two before the new precinct was added.

Precinct 8-10 moves from the California Bay District firehouse to Esperanza Middle School, across Route 235. The board of elections is leaving that location “because it was too much of an issue moving [fire] equipment out of the bay” to move in election equipment, said Wendy Adkins, elections supervisor.

The board of elections did search for polling places on Chancellor’s Run Road to replace it, she said. Greenview Knolls Elementary School is full with two precincts.

The Softball Hall of Fame building at Chancellor’s Run Regional Park isn’t handicapped accessible and the Loffler Senior Activity Center is used on Election Day, Quade said. The clubhouse at the Hickory Hills neighborhood can’t be used because the residents there don’t want all of the campaign signs put up near polling places, Adkins said.

Schools are free for the board of elections to use for voting. Other locations generally cost $300 for the day, Quade said, but the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center is $150 for the day.

Early voting has been held at the Potomac Building in Leonardtown, but “Room 14 is just too small,” Quade said. The board of elections will try to get the polling place moved to the Leonard Hall drill hall next door.

In the 2014 elections, voters will still use the touch-screen voting machines. New machines that will give a person a receipt of their votes are scheduled to be used in the 2016 presidential election.

The latest board of elections report shows 26,058 Republicans, 25,766 Democrats and 12,608 unaffiliated voters in St. Mary’s. Unaffiliated voters won’t be able to participate in the primary election under Maryland law except for the school board election, where candidates run without party labels.

jbabcock@somdnews.com