Cumberland County Commissioners voted 2–1 Thursday, Jan. 31 in favor of making the Emergency Services Building the new Shippensburg Township polling location.
Shippensburg’s Emergency Services Building, which was completed in 2012, replaces what was the temporary polling location of the Shippensburg University Foundation building.
The Emergency Services Building, located at Orange Street and Walnut Bottom Road, also includes Vigilant Hose Fire Co. and Shippensburg Area EMS.
Many observers of the move feel that it is a partisan act and unfair to some voters.
Susan Spicka, the Democratic candidate for the 2012 Pennsylvania House election, feels the new location will be inconvenient to voters.
“That polling location will be a mess. I feel sorry for older residents of Shippensburg Township who will have to drive through all that traffic and then not be able to find a parking place,” Spicka said.
However, outside observer Bruce Hockersmith, mayor of the Shippensburg Borough, does not agree that there will be any inconvenience.
“There should be easier access to the polls from two streets as opposed to one entrance and exit at the township building. The building and parking area are larger than that available at the township building,” Hockersmith said.
Many who support the decision to move the building feel that the new location is central to the township.
Others argue that it is not central, especially in comparison to the Foundation Building.
Many argue that SU students do not have easy access to the Emergency Services Building, like they did with the Foundation Building that is a short distance from campus.
Catherine Clay, adviser of SU’s student non-partisan group Ship Votes, said she heard verbal feedback from about 60 long-term Shippensburg Township residents. The group went door-to-door in the community on weekends and also reached out to SU students on the issue.
“In a couple hours, Ship Votes got almost 200 student signatures on a petition opposing the move, and presented letters and signatures at the hearing to the County Board of Elections,” Clay said.
Clay feels the hearing was poorly publicized, and it being on a Thursday morning made it difficult for students and other residents to attend.
Regardless, the more than 4,000 registered voters of the township will now be voting at the Shippensburg Emergency Services building.