Monroe County election board settles on 28 polling sites for Nov. 3 election

At its meeting last Tuesday, Monroe County’s election board settled on polling sites for the Nov. 3 general election. The county’s 82 precincts will be assigned to 28 different locations.

Purple dots denote polling locations in Monroe County for the Nov. 3, 2020, general election. Image links to a less arty, more practical dynamic map. For official information about where you are supposed to vote, consult IndianaVoters.com or Monroe County’s Election Central website.

Several of the locations combine precincts. Voters can find their voting location using online tools at IndianaVoters.com or by checking Monroe County’s Election Central website list.

Those tools require knowing your precinct. One way to match your address to the correct precinct is to use Monroe County’s interactive precinct map.

By last Tuesday’s board meeting, just one polling site had been hanging in the balance from a few previous meetings, as the board worked through the selection process. That was Genesis Church on the SR 45/46 bypass on the north side of Bloomington.

Genesis won’t be used for this fall’s election. Precincts that have been assigned to Genesis Church in the past will instead vote at Unitarian Universalist Church on Fee Lane.

On Tuesday, the board heard about another, unexpected change from the tentative list that the board had settled on at previous meetings. Emmanuel Baptist on That Road had dropped out of the mix. Replacing Emmanuel Baptist will be Southside Christian Church, which was used for the June 2 primary.

Southside Christian is on the east side of I-69, the same side as Emmanuel Baptist. That helped persuade board members that there are no extra psychological barriers associated with Southside Christian.

The problem with Genesis, which has been used in the past, was the concrete apron that leads up to the entrance—it’s too steep to navigate for someone who uses a wheelchair to get around. The board’s focus on accessibility of polling sites this year led to sharper scrutiny during their selection process.

Election supervisor Karen Wheeler described the church’s plans to patch a divot it the concreted apron and to install hand rails. It was not clear, Wheeler said, if the planned handrail would interfere with a temporary ramp, with a gentler slope, that the board was thinking of placing at the entrance.

Board member Carolyn VandeWiele said she wanted to keep Genesis Church on board as a possible site for future years. It could be needed, depending on how the redrawing of precinct boundaries goes, after the decennial census is completed. “Next year, we’re going to be revisiting all of our precincts, once we have redistricting done,” VandeWiele said.

County clerk Nicole Browne, who’s the third member of the election board, lamented the fact that Genesis Church would not be used for this year’s general election. “This breaks my heart that we have to walk away at this time, because they they are really trying to come through for us.”

Browne added, “I have to go on record saying I would want to return to Genesis in 2022, when we have our next election…They have been too good to us, and too good to this community, to not continue to partner with them.”

It had previously been decided that the precincts assigned to Meadowood senior center would be consolidated at Unitarian Universalist Church.

Can the UU Church handle the volume of voters from its usual precincts plus those from Meadowood and Genesis? Election board chair Hal Davis said that a similar approach could be taken to the one used at the Indiana Memorial Union. At the IU Memorial Union, one room is used for queuing, and the next room is used for voting. At UU Church, the vestibule might be used for queueing and the sanctuary for voting.

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