2018 Elections: Long lines as polls near closing time

Voters waiting in line at a busy Prince William County polling place in November 2018.

Prince William County has changed election precinct boundaries in the Brentsville and Potomac districts due to the large number of registered voters in the precincts.

Some voters will have a new voting precinct after the Prince William Board of County Supervisors created two new election precincts and relocated and renamed another.

The affected precincts are No. 109 Piney Branch; No. 111 Bristow Run; and No. 302 Potomac, said Matthew Wilson, the county’s senior assistant deputy registrar.  

In the coming weeks, voters who are affected will be sent a new voter registration notice to inform them of their new polling place, said Leslie Kostelecky, the county’s election administrative specialist.

The Bristow Run and Potomac precincts had 4,943 and 4,896 registered voters in December, according to the board’s resolution. Each of the new precincts will have about 2,400 to 2,500 registered voters.

Those two precincts were the largest in the county, said Kostelecky.

During the Nov. 6, 2018, election, the last person voted at the Bristow Run precinct at 9:20 p.m., according to county election documents. In the Potomac precinct, the last person voted at 8:45 p.m. While polls close at 7 p.m., voters still in line at 7 p.m. are allowed to cast their vote.

“Fewer registered voters in a precinct mean shorter lines for people to check in and cast their ballot, creating a more enjoyable Election Day experience for voters,” Kostelecky said.

The board approved new precincts on Jan. 8. The county cannot change precinct boundaries until May 2021 due to the 2020 U.S. Census and redistricting that would follow, Kostelecky said.

CHANGES

In the Brentsville District, the existing Piney Branch boundaries remain but the precinct was given a new polling location, Chris Yung Elementary, so the precinct was renamed as Chris Yung precinct, said Kostelecky.

The Bristow Run precinct was divided in half, with some residents staying at Bristow Run Elementary. Residents on the western end of the precinct will vote at Piney Branch Elementary in the new Piney Branch precinct, Kostelecky said.

Finally, the Potomac precinct was split in half, too. Half of the residents vote at Potomac High and the remaining residents — on the southwestern side — will vote at Williams Elementary School in the new Williams precinct.

The board approved $57,420 in April to create the new precincts in fiscal 2019-20.

The electoral board informed county supervisors in April 2017 that 10 precincts had more than 4,000 registered voters. The electoral board recommended that precincts with more than 4,700 registered voters should be altered first.

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