New polling site for Marion voters

Fire Station No. 1 will be closed for 2016 elections

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Residents in Wards 1 and 2 in Marion will have a new polling place to go to in order to cast their ballots in the next election. Mayor Frank Fogleman approved a request by the election commission to move the current location at Fire Station 1 on Military Road to City Hall. “Logistically, we’ve just outgrown the fire station,” Fogleman said. Election Commissioner Frank Barton said the fire house lacks parking and space is tight inside for the voting machines. “The fire station is just too congested,” Barton said. “There is not a lot of parking there. It is really a disincentive for people to vote on election day because it is so difficult to get in and out of. And that is certainly not something we want. We want to make voting easy.” Fire Station 1 was the busiest polling location in Crittenden County during the 2012 presidential election. Barton said 1,095 people cast votes at that location. “That was the largest election day turnout by location,” Barton said. In the 2014 election, 576 people cast ballots at the fire station. Barton said moving the polling location to city hall will offer both more parking and space to set up additional voting machines. “There is just more room at city hall,” Barton said. “And since we could have five elections there per year it is just a better location.” Both Fogleman and Barton said they spoke with Judge Fred Thorne and court personnel about using city hall to make sure the elections would not conflict with the operations of the court. District Court is held on Thursdays in Marion. “I checked with the chief clerk and she and Fred talked about it,” Fogleman said. “They did point out that because their offices are on opposite sides of the room from the other women, during the election one or both of them if they are there won’t have to work during the election.” Fogleman said he and Barton also discussed possibly splitting the two wards. “We did discuss that,” Fogleman said. “But that is not a function of the city. It is up to the election commission. Frank Barton said they would look at it later.”

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