So, it's voting day and we get to see how Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps's polling-place consolidation plan plays out. Like many Douglas County voters, I was voting at a new location this year. I had an idea where that new location was, and drove around a bit looking for it. When I couldn't find it, I came home and looked it up on the internet. To their credit, the DCEC has made it easy to find your polling place.
The new location, of course, was a bit further away than the old one. My old polling place was just about four blocks away and I used to walk there. The new location is more than a mile away and the best walking route is along a major city street with lots of truck traffic. Driving isn't much better. The old location was no more than three blocks off of major streets to the North, South, and West, with multiple side streets off of each to take you there. The new location can only be accessed from the North and the South and the two streets from the North both wind through an industrial area. Still, getting to the new polling place was not a major inconvenience.
Once I got to the polling location, I pulled up to the front of the building near the sidewalk with the "Polling Place" banner. I walked up to the front door and it was locked. I looked around a bit and found a small sign on the next building with an arrow that led to a small alleyway between buildings. The polling place was at the back of the building adjacent to the parking lot. It would have been nice if there were signs directing vehicles to the parking lot. I don't know if a wheelchair could have made it through that alley.
The first thing I noticed about the polling place was that it was much smaller than the old one. The old location was a large room with a bank of carrels and three or four rows of four tables. The new location had a bank of carrels and two tables in the corner. There was one person at each table, so there was no room for privacy. There weren't many people there so I voted at one of the carrels. I cannot imagine the general election being held there.
Overall, I'd have to rate the new location as inadequate.
So, Douglas County voters, how would you rate your polling place?