Polling place accessibility: sometimes you don't have to look very far!

Today there are elections throughout our part of Los Angeles County, including some local city council races in Pasadena, school board runoffs in the greater Pasadena area, and a number of cities with local ballot measures. Melissa Slemin is working at a local polling place today, and soon we’ll hear about her experiences (as well as her earlier experiences with Delia Bailey working the previous local elections in the Pasadena area).

I headed over to our neighborhood polling place, and which is located in our local fire station ( here’s a picture of the entrance, with the fire truck parked outside). Turned out that they’ve started a massive road project on the street in front of the fire station, with traffic detoured and essentially all of the local street parking taken up by the construction project or vehicles. Here are a series of images so that you can see the problem:

So all I had to do this morning to see a good example of potential poll site problems was around the corner. This is an example of scheduling snafus can make it hard for people to access a polling place. This is also an example of some of the potential denial of service problems that some of us have been writing about recently, including my “Precinct Voting Denial of Service” working paper.

The good news was that I voted by mail. But then as I was driving to my office I heard a story on National Public Radio about problems in Chicago — but also in many major cities — with mail delivery … We’re trying to find that USPS audit report mentioned in that study, and when we do, we’ll post it here!