Seeking Support for Equitable Community Access to Elections
Posted on Wednesday, Jul. 22, 2020 at 2:16 pm
During a pandemic, safety in elections matters greatly to ensure every eligible citizen can cast their ballot in the way they feel most comfortable given risks posed by COVID-19. Setting up accessible polling locations that promote proper social distancing for residents to have a place vote in person on Election Day is one way the City of Madison Clerk’s Office facilitates the right to vote.
The Clerk’s Office continues to prepare for early in person voting and respond to the inflow of absentee ballot requests so Madisonians who choose to do so can vote by mail. In addition, we are looking to the community to help us provide the same number of polling locations, if not more than usual, to ensure the health and safety of all voters on upcoming election days.
In recent weeks, a number of sites the Clerk’s Office typically relies on for Election Day polling locations noticed they are unable to lend their support to the August 11th and November 3rd elections. As a result, we are in need of a number of community sites that can offer accessible facilities as polling locations in order to support equitable access to the ballot, minimize voter lines, and maximize social distancing. There is a $750 per election incentive offered to any site willing to support the elections in August and/or November.
Voting sites must be able to provide the following:
- Welcoming space to all voters.
- Location that is easily accessed.
- Location is large enough to accommodate the number of voters anticipated.
- Interior space assigned allows for smooth flow of movement of voters from one station to another as they complete the process.
- Handicap accessibility requirements met, such as adequate width of doorways and halls, as well as space to maneuver in a wheelchair around the voting area.
- Doors to building and to voting area are opened for election officials at 6 a.m., and remain open to the public from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election days.
- Tables and chairs are available for election officials to move and use as needed to accommodate tasks.
- A locked space for storage of election equipment from the delivery date (1-5 days prior to the election) through 6 a.m. on Election Day, and at the end of Election Day through the time it is picked up on the days following the election (for the Tabulator and accessible voting machines). Also a space to store folded booths and signage (usually in the back of a closet, etc.).
Elections matter. Elections ensure our democracy is representative of the will of the people. To run an election that maintains proper social distancing requires a wide variety of community partners hosting polling locations around the city. We need your help to keep our elections as safe as possible.
If you are able to volunteer a site to serve as a polling location, please reach out to the City Clerk’s Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (608) 266-4601.
If you want to know where your polling location will be for an upcoming election, check out https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/where-do-i-vote/ just before the election as locations continue to change.
If you want to register for an absentee ballot to be sent to you in the mail or to find a drive up location, check out https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/elections-voting/voting/vote-absentee