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Four polling places move permanently

Another changes briefly for March special election

February 20, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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Five polling sites in Butler County have changed, four permanently and one site for a March special election only.

Voters in five precincts will cast their ballots in new polling places.

The county commissioners voted to approve Bureau of Elections Director Shari Brewer's recommendation to switch four precincts permanently by the primary election on April 28.

Clearfield Township's polling place will change from St. John Catholic Church hall on Clearfield Road in Fenelton to the township building at 103 McGrady Hollow Road.

Brewer said officials at St. John contacted her to say they no longer wanted the church to serve as a polling place. They did not give Brewer a reason for the decision, she said.

In Bruin borough, the polling site will change from the Bruin Volunteer Fire Department's hall on Firehouse Drive to the renovated borough building at 114 Water St.

Brewer said the renovations meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and alleviate the $75 rental fee charged to the county each year by the fire hall.

She said the borough asked her to designate the borough building as the Bruin polling site.

The Petrolia polling place will switch from the Petrolia Volunteer Fire Department hall on Argyle Street to the municipal building at 110 Cross St.

That municipal building has also been renovated and will provide ADA access and alleviate the rental fee formerly paid by the elections bureau, Brewer said.

Saxonburg Borough Manager Mary Papik attended the commissioners meeting Wednesday and requested a change of polling place in person.

The voting venue will switch from the borough building on West Main Street to the larger Cooper Hall at Roebling Park on North Rebecca Street.

Additional parking, more room for the new voting system and space to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs are reasons the borough asked for the change.

Because Cooper Hall is owned by the borough, the elections bureau will not be charged a rental fee.

“It's a much nicer, larger facility that meets all the guidelines,” Brewer said.

One venue, located in Center Township, will change for the March 17 special election to fill the seat of former State Rep. Tedd Nesbit, who resigned at the start of this year to begin a new role as a common pleas court judge in Mercer County.

The special election will only fill the seat for the duration of Nesbit's current term, which expires at the end of 2020.

That means April 28's primary ballot will also ask voters to pick nominees for Nesbit's seat. Whichever candidate wins the special election could in theory lose the seat at the end of the year to the candidate who wins the general election. Alternately, the same candidate could win both.

Precinct 1 voters from Center Township will not vote at Trinity Lutheran Church on Sunset Drive because AARP tax assistance will be ongoing there on March 17.

Voters must cast their ballot approximately two miles away at The Church of God of Prophecy at 932 Mercer Road.

Brewer said she asked Center Township officials for the use of their municipal building and was rejected, including the use of the township garages.

Clearview Mall did not want to host voters because officials there want no political affiliation, and a church near Trinity Lutheran is unavailable on March 17 because they hold day care there.

Voters will return to Trinity Lutheran for the primary and general elections.

Brewer said notices have been posted in all affected precincts and all households in those precincts will receive notices in the mail regarding the changes.

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Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs

Paula Grubbs is a Butler County native who has been with the Butler and Cranberry Eagle newspapers since June 2000. Grubbs has covered the Mars School District and Middlesex Township for over 20 years with the Eagle and her former employer, the Cranberry Journal. She also covers Adams Township, Evans City and Mars in addition to events and incidents throughout Southwestern Butler County as assigned. Grubbs has taken the lead at the Cranberry Eagle in reporting on shale gas development, which has been a hotly debated topic in the recent past, both locally and nationally. A 1979 graduate of Butler Senior High School and a 1994 graduate of Geneva College, Grubbs has won a Golden Quill and four Keystone state awards, plus an award from the Society of Professional Journalists. Grubbs enjoys following the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers, volunteers with the Connoquenessing Creek Cleanup each summer, and loves spending time outdoors and bird watching at her Penn Township home. Grubbs is the daughter of James R. Davis Sr., of Center Township, and the late Maxine Davis. She has two grown children, Jacqueline and Thomas.