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Should City’s Election Hours Change?

Election 2011: Wojahn, Kabir, Nagle and Afzali at Davis Hall (credit: Shannon Hoffman / CP Patch)

I received this Tuesday’s council packet from the City last Friday. As the council member – elect, I’ll get to attend this work session. I’m thrilled to join the Council this Tuesday.

One of the items the Mayor and Council will discuss is the polling hours of College Park elections.

Quite a few residents have expressed this concern that they could not vote due to the fact that the voting hours did not suit their job schedule.

I received a phone call early in the morning on the election day from a resident, who said he’d like to vote before he goes to his work at 8:30pm. Unfortunately, the polls open at 11am, thus he had to miss the election.

After the election, I also came to know that several other residents could not vote, because of the voting hours. Most of these residents said they start work late and couldn’t come to polling stations before 8 in the evening.

I see that the overall voter turnout in this election is extremely low. True, District 1 had the highest turnout this year, but even the numbers are lower than what we had in 2009.

There could be other reasons for low voter turnout. First and foremost District 2 and 4 did not have any contest, thus, very few residents in those districts had a little reason to come to the polling stations. The Patch ran an interesting poll on this.

In every election (Presidential and State/County), our residents vote between 7am to 8pm; it’s only our election where the residents can vote between 11am and 8pm.

Extending polling hours for city elections only can bring many residents to the polls. If we can do that by changing / extending polling hours, I ask why not?

What do you think? I’d like to hear from you. Please post your comments at the bottom of this post or send me a private message here .

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