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Polling Place and Vote Center Management

Title: Polling Place and Vote Center Management

Review the Comments for this Section:


Comment  Creator  Last Modified 


Locating Polling Place and Vote Center Sites

In the listing of the types of buildings to consider as Vote Centers, I am curious for the order of the listing.  Specifically, why are shopping malls listed first?  It gives the impression that malls grocery stores are preferred locations to large public meeting rooms in government buildings or libraries which I don't believe is the case.

Also, further down page 3 in the listing of the types of buildings to consider for possible use as precinct-specific or consolidated polling places, a listing follows but there is a combination of "buildings" and "rooms" presented.  The listing should be consistent. 

As a point of reference, Michigan Election Law states the following with regards to the polling place sites:

". . . school buildings, fire stations, police stations, and other publicly owned or controlled buildings shall be used as polling places. If it is not possible or convenient to use a publicly owned or controlled building as a polling place, the legislative body of the city, township, or village may use as a polling place a building owned or controlled by an organization that is exempt from federal income tax as provided by section 501(c) other than 501(c)(4), (5), or (6) of the internal revenue code of 1986, or any successor statute. The legislative body of a city, township, or village shall not designate as a polling place a building that is owned by a person who is a sponsor of a political committee or independent committee. "

I believe the last sentence on p. 3 is incorrect where it states that "Polling places are privately owned, and election jurisdiction must be granted permission to use the facilities to process voters." since many publicly owned buildings, such as schools, are used as polling sites.  I suggest changing the sentence to something such as:  "If the polling place is located in a building which is privately owned, the election jurisdiction must be granted permission to use the facilities to process voters." 




The term "available buildings" is used throughout when referring to possible polling places.   I am not comfortable with the term "available" since it gives the impression that simply because a large building exists in a certain area, it would be suitable as a polling site and available for that purpose.  There are many reasons the building would not be appropriate for voting and another level of scrutiny should be recognized here.  Perhaps changing the label to "possible polling site" would be more appropriate, since it allows for that level of scrutiny to exist. 

Also, in the second to the last paragraph, I suggest adding a site visit to the process since it gives the impression that election officials would simply call the building owner and ask to use the facility for voting.  Site visits are critical in the decision-making process for polling places.  I suggest changing the language to:

"The process begins by making the initial contact with the property/building owner to request a site visit of the facility and premises for possible use of their facility on Election Day.  This provides an opportunity for your staff to begin to develop a long-term commitment and relationship with each property owner to help ensure that polling place locations stay as consistent as possible."  [added words in bold]

In addition, most facilities will need its board's approval prior to entering into any polling place agreement with the election jurisdiction.  Adding language to allow for board approval is needed.  I suggest changing the last two sentences on page four to read:

"Be sure to leave your business card or contact information and to follow up a few days later with a letter or telephone call to answer any new questions.  Most often, a facility will need board approval of the use.  If approval is granted, immediately send out a building contact information form for election day needs and a commitment agreement confirming the use of the facility.[added words in bold]



thegarty 04/25/2008 09:57 AM

The document begins discussing the polling place and vote centers in a general sense but pages 6-25 deal only with accessibility.  This is nearly half the document.  It is an important discussion and should perhapse have a chapter to itself.


A striking omission was that of voter’s privacy.  If you look at the photo on p. 33, anyone walking behind a voter can see how he/she is voting.  And while there is a discussion of traffic flow in the polling room, there is none on placing the voting equipment with the voter’s privacy in mind or use of a privacy shield for the paper ballot.  Especially in the era of touch screen machines, this issue should be discussed.


Voter education isn’t really a part of this discussion but it is important.  The section on election office web sites is very usefulespecially linking it to a map and having information about the accessibility entrance.  Adding mapping to the vote center discussion would be helpful.


davidorr 04/25/2008 04:02 PM

The vote center section seems to only cover those that use vote centers in lieu of voters assigned to polling places.  Voter centers are also used as an "overlay" to polling place based voting.  This requires different communications systems to be in place to insure voters are hitting their home polling place and the vote centers.   

wnoren 04/25/2008 04:51 PM
  wnoren 04/25/2008 04:48 PM

Under management requirements, page 2, third bullet, suggests that property owners must be willing to open the building to poll workers the evening prior to the election. Also assumes that all polls close at 7 pm.

Why would poll workers (election inspectors) be at the polls the evening prior to the election? I assume they are talking about election assistants performing certain setup tasks? Recommend clarification. Also, clarify poll closing time…..the building must be available until after the close of the polls.

This could be broken up into separate chapters.  Selection of polling places including all the ADA requirements in one chapter; managing polling places in another and vote centers in yet another.

Vote centers require on line access to voter registration database.  Some discussion on the difficulty of find necessary places with phone jacks or whether wireless is a good idea or not.


The picture on page 34 is very cool, but it sure looks like secrecy is compromised due proximity of one machine to its neighbor.  It may be that the machines have a recessed screen to prevent voters from viewing their neighbor's screen, but that is not clear from this picture.


Page 35 has a picture that doesn't say much.  Parking is an issue and should be highlighted.


cthomas 04/27/2008 11:35 AM

Good suggestions in this chapter.  Adds time to the process.  Must keep in mind the rural communities.

cthomas 04/27/2008 11:45 AM
  cthomas 04/27/2008 11:49 AM