City consolidates polling places

Voters check in with poll workers prior to casting their ballots during the Aug. 11 primary election at Veterans Terrace in downtown Burlington. The venue will serve as the City of Burlington’s lone polling location for the Nov. 3 presidential election. (File photo)

Veteran’s Terrace to serve as lone venue on Nov. 3

By Jason Arndt

Staff Writer

Voters in the City of Burlington will have Veterans Terrace as the only place to cast ballots in the Nov. 3 Presidential Election, and perhaps indefinitely, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Common Council, on Tuesday, authorized a resolution to move the poll representing the city’s first and second districts from Cross Lutheran Church to Veteran’s Terrace, 589 Milwaukee Avenue.

The location change effectively consolidates in-person voting under one roof after Veterans Terrace hosted the Aug. 11 primary election for residents in the third and fourth districts.

Cross Lutheran Church, according to city officials, decided to bow out of serving as a venue for the rest of 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“This was a very difficult decision for our church mission council, as we have a long history of offering our building for this use, and do feel this is an important service we can offer to our community, state and nation,” a representative of the Cross Lutheran Church’s Mission Council wrote in an Aug. 25 letter to the city.

“This decision was made due to the pandemic and took into consideration the safe use of our building for our staff, our parishioners, and the Noah’s Ark preschool who are operating out of a large part of our building at the same time the voting would be taking place.”

The Mission Council official, however, said the decision is temporary with plans to revisit the matter in the future.

Cross Lutheran Church, which served as a polling place since 1995, further stated in the letter it plans to offer its building for elections in the future.

“We have every intention of being a location the City of Burlington can count on as a polling location in the years to come,” the letter added.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously issued guidance encouraging municipalities to move away from locations where high-risk populations typically congregate.

Voting at Veteran’s Terrace will be held in Liberty Hall banquet room, but it will be divided into two rooms, with one serving wards 1-4 and the other for wards 5-10.

District 2 Alderman Ryan Heft asked city officials how they plan on encouraging social distancing during the election.

“There is so much space in both of those rooms that we will be able to spread out adequately,” Halbach said in response.

“In addition to that, I highly anticipate we will have more absentee ballots than actual people showing up at the polls.”

            To read the entire story, see the Sept. 3 edition of the Burlington Standard Press.

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