AUGUSTA — The city’s Ward 4 voters will have yet another new polling place come November: Cony High School.

In the primary election in June, Ward 4 voters, without their own polling place since St. Andrews church closed and went up for sale last year, voted with Ward 3 voters in the North Wing of the Augusta Civic Center.

However, City Clerk Barbara Wardwell anticipates turnout will be so high in the upcoming November election that the North Wing of the Augusta Civic Center won’t be big enough to accommodate both wards. It’s a presidential election that will also feature contentious state decisions, such as the U.S. Senate and House races and vote on allowing gay marriage.

Wardwell anticipates more than 10,000 of the city’s 14,000 registered voters may vote in the November elections.

So, city and school officials plan to set up a Ward 4 polling place, at least for this election, in the band room at Cony High School.

If it goes well, it could become the ward’s new permanent place to vote.

“This is a test for my bureau and the school,” Wardwell said. “This isn’t a solid permanent location at this time.”

Ward 4 generally encompasses the northeast portion of the city, including Bangor Street and Riverside Drive, as well as Church Hill Road, North Belgrade Avenue and Longwood Avenue north of South Belfast Avenue.

Wardwell said ward boundaries are going to be adjusted if need be and approved by the end of the calendar year, after which she is hopeful a permanent polling place for Ward 4 can be identified to avoid having to move voters from polling place to polling place for different elections.

The committee that recommended Cony as a temporary polling place will continue to work on a permanent polling place, either at Cony if it goes well, or elsewhere if it doesn’t.

City councilors approved Cony as the Ward 4 polling place in a unanimous vote during a council meeting Thursday night.

“As the Ward 3 Councilor, we enjoyed having residents of Ward 4 vote with us at the civic center, but I think it’s important each ward have its own voting place,” said Councilor Patrick Paradis. “I firmly believe four places, for four wards, is not a lot to ask for the people to be able to vote. Having your own polling place has much more of a sense of community than a central voting place.”

Wardwell said the only potential problem with voting at Cony could be the time period between 7-8 a.m., when both students and voters will be converging on the school at the same time.

She said city staff would be outside during that time period to help direct traffic.

Wardwell said the parking lot voters will use has 175 spaces, and she doesn’t anticipate more than 50 voters needing to park at any one time.

One catch to the new Ward 4 polling place — it’s not actually in Ward 4; it’s in Ward 2.

But it’s close. South Belfast Avenue, which borders one side of the school property, is the boundary line between the two wards. Wardwell noted Ward 4’s old polling place, St. Andrews, was just inside the Ward 2 boundary, too.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

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