September 26, 2010

Support for Efforts to Increase Voter Participation

All efforts to increase voter participation in Ward 4 could be offset by congestion at the polling place in St. Mark's Youth Center. All efforts to increase voter participation in Ward 7 could be offset by dissension and confusion about moving back to Hunt School, where access is easier but school will be in session and parking will be limited.  Problem-solving and non-partisan public information is needed -- loud and clear, and repeatedly, starting now! 

  • In Ward 4, we are hearing that school construction is behind schedule and voting activity at St. Mark's will conflict with school activity. Currently there are cars filling the parking lot, spilling over onto the lawns and neighborhood streets. Who is in charge of poll logistics like parking and management of traffic congestion? Councilor Kaplan says she will talk it over with the schools and the police dept. State Rep and Councilor Wright says BPD is aware of the problem and he may ask School Supt. to close school at St. Marks that day if needed. Problem-solving and getting information out to voters should not be left to partisan candidates. Lack of public information, and the perception of polling place congestion, can discourage people from going to the polls on election day. Seeing a police officer there directing traffic could even be a red flag for people to stay away! What do you do when you see congestion ahead? U-turn and get out of there if you can. And you tell friends to avoid the area.  
  • In Ward 7, there is a resolution to move the poll back to Hunt School. The school is apparently not enthusiastic. In the past it was a school off day, but no longer. 
  • Leaving it up to candidates to get people to the polls is lousy. Non-partisan public information is needed, loud and clear, repeatedly, and starting now!
  • Early and absentee voting is an option for some people (like the party faithful) who have made up their minds (and don't want to be bothered by new information), but it is NOT the answer for the majority of voters. MANY independent-minded voters follow the debates, forums, and campaign activities which bring out new information daily, and they vote responsibility when the campaigns end -- after each side has presented their best case and responded to their opponents, after the press has done fact-checking and analysis, and after weighing all sides of the questions and candidates.