City Hall not the best location for voters
A push to move the city polling place form the Senior Center to City Hall is receiving considerable push back.
Local elections worker Pat Koski addressed the city council this past week on the issue. Her view: “Many Ely citizens and all of the poll workers are against the change in polling place,” according to Koski.
She pointed out that drop-off curbside parking directly in front of city hall is not permitted, unlike the situation at the Senior Center. Chapman is a busy street, and crossing it can be dangerous. Once across, the walkway to the elevator entrance is downward sloping, with no hand rails. Since elections are usually in November, crossing the street and walking to the entrance are likely to be on slippery surfaces.
There is no rest area to provide seating while waiting for the elevator, which is likely to be in constant use during the polling hours. The walk from the elevator to the actual polling place is also arduous for those with mobility issues.
Curbside voting will be a problem and will cause delays for all voters since the official voter registration books will have to be taken down the stairs or elevator, across Chapman Street, then back up to the polling place.
“All of this has an impact on our senior citizens. Voting at the Senior Center had none of these problems. The logistics of the thing bothers me,” said Koski. “Logistically, this is not convenient for voting.”
The city went to great expense to add an elevator to city hall to make it handicap accessible. But it’s still a building that isn’t overly user friendly, especially when the elevator is tucked in a corner.
Koski mentioned comments which had been made to her by numerous citizens since consideration of a plan to move the polling place was announced. “I can’t walk such distances,” and “I have balance issues,” were among the most frequently heard complaints.
Conversely, it would be much easier for city officials to have the polling place at city hall instead of having to run to the Senior Center when problems arise. There is parking across the street in the library parking lot.
But we think the council will have to keep in mind what works best for voters when making this decision.