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Marshall County clarifies polling place move

T-R PHOTOS BY ADAM SODDERS Marshall County Auditor-Recorder Nan Benson said her office received calls with questions and concerns about the new polling location at Redeemer Lutheran, shown here. She said some called to confirm that the location was correct and others worried about access to the building for voting. Benson said the building meets Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, and that other potential locations either didn’t meet requirements or did not want to be a polling place. A larger parking lot is located at the back of the building. INSET: This is an example of the information cards sent out by the auditor’s office to fourth-ward voters concerning the new polling place.

Some voters in Marshalltown’s fourth ward have questions about the change in polling location announced by the Marshall County Auditor and Recorder’s Office last week.

The office has answered several phone calls about change, which saw the polling place move to Redeemer Lutheran Church at 1600 S. Center St. from the previous location at First Baptist Church, 700 E. Olive St.

“Change is always hard, you get used to going to a certain spot,” said County Auditor-Recorder Nan Benson, adding First Baptist Church chose to stop being the fourth-ward polling location on Nov. 8, 2017, after several years as the fourth-ward voting location.

A statement released by the auditor-recorder’s office reads that First Baptist, which has a preschool program, plans to lock down the building during the day for student security. As a result, they told the county they no longer wanted to be the fourth-ward polling place.

Benson said Redeemer Lutheran was chosen because it met Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements and was willing to commit to being the fourth-ward polling place until the 2021 election year.

“We went out looking for locations, trying to find ones that were ADA-compliant … and seeing if they were willing,” she said. “Some were just not ADA-compliant at all and others told us ‘No.'”

Benson said callers had varied concerns about the move to Redeemer Lutheran.

“Some people were upset because it’s a busy location, right there off of Center (Street),” Benson said. “They have a really nice parking lot, though, and a side entrance.”

She added some callers were concerned about the busy before- and after-school traffic around nearby Marshalltown High School. Others called in to confirm that Redeemer Lutheran was, in fact, the official polling location.

Benson said access to voting locations is of the utmost importance to her office.

“We want to encourage everyone to vote,” she said, adding the recent special city election, which saw a winning margin of two votes, shows how close some races can get. “That really proves it, during our special election we had in February.”

The auditor-recorder’s office sent out information cards to fourth-ward voters last week. Those cards included the updated polling place information, as well as information on voting at the polls and absentee voting.

“You may vote absentee prior to Election Day either by mail or in person at our office in the courthouse,” the auditor-recorder’s office statement reads. “Or, you may vote on Election Day at your polling place.”

Those seeking information about voting, polling locations and other elections topics are encouraged to call the auditor-recorder’s office at (641) 754-6302.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com

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