By Kyla Hurt
Some polling places adjusted for election
The 2020 United States elections are scheduled for Tuesday, November 3. With less than a month away, Morgan County Clerk Jill Waggener worked to make in-person voting at polling places “as simplified as possible,” she says.
“People need to know that there’s going to be some changes. I’m trying to figure out the best possible scenario for Jacksonville and what to do with South Jacksonville #4.”
That is what Waggener said prior to consolidating a few in-town precincts. Waggener explains that she, “touched base with Deb Boston out at Pathway to check if you could temporarily house four precincts there for the November 3 election only; I just want people to know that I hope it’s only for this election.”
Pathway Services Unlimited, Inc. agreed.
Located at 1905 W. Morton Ave. in Jacksonville, Pathway will act as the November 3, 2020, polling place for precincts Jacksonville 10, Jacksonville 11, Jacksonville 6 and Jacksonville 7. The four precincts will be notified by a letter, which should be received this week.
Jacksonville 10 and Jacksonville 11 have 587 and 860 registered voters respectively. Normally, these two precincts use First Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville as their polling place. However, the director of Presbyterian Church Day Care Center did not want the church being used this year, says Waggener, as the daycare is housed within the church.
Jacksonville 6 Precinct has 636 registered voters while Jacksonville 7 has 234. Both previously used Laborers’ Home Development on South Diamond Street, but Waggener explained, “For the safety of the residents who reside there and often congregate in the lobby area where voting is held, it was changed.”
This year also includes permanent changes for two precincts. Arcadia Precinct will now permanently be at Faith Lutheran Church, 1385 W. Walnut Ave. in Jacksonville (680 people are currently registered in this precinct). Additionally, the Liter Precinct, which has 622 people currently registered, will be permanently moved to Calvary Baptist Church at 859 N. Main St. in Jacksonville.
Waggener says these permanent changes are happening because, “The facility [Liter Baptist Church] in Literberry chose not to let us vote there anymore.” The two precincts had previously both used Liter Baptist Church as a joint polling place, so they needed a new place. Instead, the precincts were separated. According to Waggener, “There wasn’t a facility at this time that I could locate quickly to use in November [for the two precincts to be kept together at one polling place].”
These changes, albeit Waggener hopes the use of Pathway is only for this year, should be positive and simplify the voting process, streamlining the number of places that people need to go.
As a reminder, anyone who wishes can complete early voting. “Just come into the office and we will verify their information by asking a couple of questions and their signature on their application … We do have a room set up at the end of the hallway with tabulators, voting booths and touchscreens. I have also brought in election day judges to assist those voters so that my staff and I are able to help those voters with questions here in the office,” says Waggener. Early voting can be done in the Morgan County Clerk’s office at the Morgan County Courthouse through and including November 2, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
They have added extra days of availability on Saturdays, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. either day. Also, Oct. 26-29, the office is extending hours until 7 p.m.
Another option is to vote by mail. Call 217-243-8581 and request an application. The application will be mailed to you. Once received, note that you will need to please sign, date and return it to receive the actual ballot for voting.
Lastly, Waggener adds, “With all of the COVID-19 guidelines, we’re just asking for all voters to be patient with us as we’re all in a new experience.”
Remember this: regardless of how it is done, the important thing is to vote. Be an informed voter.