by Lisa Tome
Cecil County's Board of Elections recently sent out cards to voters, notifying them that their polling site for this year's elections will no longer be at the Rising Sun Banquet Hall on Biggs Highway.
Instead, voters will cast ballots at Rising Sun Middle School.
Fire company president Bill Eyler said it was a business decision by the fire company board to no longer serve as an election site. "They didn't like our terms and we didn't like their terms," said Eyler. He explained that the fire company hall rental fee is $700 per day on weekdays and more on weekends. He said the election board requires two days, the evening before the election for set up, and election day. He also said the election board officials required access to the hall for two days.
"It's in their right to do that. It's a private location," said Cecil County Board of Elections Director Debbie Towery. The change of polling locations impacts about 4,000 registered voters. The election board paid postage to notify all those voters about the change.
Towery said the election board staff has taken one phone call about the change of polling locations. She said there have been no complaints about the change.
This won't be the first time those who live in the Rising Sun area cast ballots at the middle school.
About two decades ago, during renovations at Rising Sun Middle, the polling location was changed to the fire house from the middle school.
Lora Waters, assistant election director, said that using the school buildings is free for elections. Now that the fire company is no longer a voting site, the election board doesn't have to pay for any sites. "All the schools are free," said Waters.
But there are other expenses related to the election. Cecil hires 300 election judges. Chief judges earn $300 per day. Other judges earn $200 per day. They each earn $25 for training.
For early voting they use 15 judges. They are paid less because there is no set up or take down. They earn $200 per day for chief judges and $150 per day for other judges. The election board also sends out sample ballots at a cost of $12,000-$15,000 plus postage.