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NOVEMBER 2, 2010 2:18PM

Voting in Minneapolis

Rate: 7 Flag

About 8:30 this morning, the whole family went to the polling place for Ward 9, Precinct 1 of Minneapolis.  The two kids sat with us and watched us fill out our ballots.  The seven year old got a kick out of me writing in a neighbor's name in the uncontested sheriff's race. (The incumbent is a racist boob.)

We were voters #86 and #87 respectively. Our city has pretty high voter turnout but we're in a lower voting precinct.  I'm sure neighboring precincts had double that number by then.

The polling location was in the basement of a Lutheran church. Generally I think polling places should stay out of religious insititutions, but what can you do?

We had three neighbors on our block working the polls. We said hello and thanked them for their work.  The whole process was pretty smooth and without any lines, although voters continued to trickle in the whole time.  Most of my time was spent voting for incumbents in about three hundred judicial races. (OK, a slight exaggeration...)

Besides the state and district judges, I voted for candidates for Congress, Governor and Lt. Governor, state Attorney-General, state Auditor, state Secretary of State, state Senator, state Representative, district school board, soil and water supervisor, a city charter amendement on the redistricting process, county sheriff, county attorney, and county commissioner.  Only in a couple cases did I have to hold my nose.


 My polling location.


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Hey, neat polling place. My polling place is a school. Usually they let the students have the day off on election day, not today, so as me and the wife left, the bell rang and the students came pouring out, we got to relive our school days even!! :D

I wish every school was a polling place. Great way to model civic participation for kids. (And a way for voters to relive the joys/horrors of their youth!)
Very funny and informative report. I agree with you completely that house of religious worship have no place in politics and should not be designated for voting. It does seem counterintuitive to what our founding fathers had to say. Nice to see you around!
So many judges to vote for!! Im proud of you for voting and thank you for taking your kids. Great report.
Why aren't dogcatchers on the ballots anymore?
Hey - you live by me! I'm 12-6 and also vote in a Lutheran church, but a nondescript mid-century one. I just left the sheriff blank - couldn't think of anyone to write in, couldn't vote for Stanek, did have to hold my nose on another one.

The churches just make their space available, there's no mixing.
Once my polling place was in a greenhouse.
nerd cred, greetings to a fellow Minneapolitan! Nokomis is a nice area... I believe we shared a state senator and county commissioner ballot lines, as well as all the statewide and judicial ballot lines.

I don't think churches or any other houses of worship are being nefarious by making themselves available as polling locations. I do think that there is something contradictory to having voting take place in churches or other houses of worship in a secular society. Imagine how some of our less enlightened citizens would feel about voting at a mosque. Some people are uncomfortable in religious buildings--for both valid and non-valid reasons. Perhaps there are better choices on election day?

I believe Alaska allows for early voting if the voter doesn't want to go to a polling place that's in a religious insititution. That's a decent half step. It'd be great if we could try to find enough public, or at least secular, buildings to host polling locations on election days.
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Don't forget that sheriff - we share that line, too! I grew up right near where you vote - good ole 27th & Lake has changed a lot. Your polling place is the first non-Catholic church I was ever inside (at age 18!)

I understand your point about churches and also know the influence of my own early indoctrination but now I am a committed agnostic and am never in churches except for political events.

Churches are ubiquitous to most communities and a huge part of the population cannot conceive of anyone being uncomfortable with what they perceive as their totally benign, even beneficial presence. Sometimes churches are the only large spaces available besides schools which have the inherent drawback of having their function disrupted by holding an election. Closing schools on election day is a separate argument.

Tolerance is a good thing, generally, and makes life run more easily, especially for something as pervasive and unquestioned as church. (Given all possible restrictions on the intrusion of religion, of course. That may seem impossible but, honestly, I walked into and out of that church yesterday and couldn’t tell you if there was anything remotely religious in the spaces I passed through.)

It also gives churches a chance to give back which they should be required to do as often as possible. (I retract the whole argument if it turns out they’re being paid for use of the space.)

As for mosques – yeah, right. If that ever comes up I’ll be the first to tell the general populace to suck it up. I acknowledge my bias there, too: the people who would refuse to vote in a mosque would certainly vote in complete opposition to me so (especially after last night’s results) I’m good with that.
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