Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Are Polling Locations Chosen?

Recently Wilson Elementary School and Marshall Middle School were eliminated as polling sites for 2012. This change was brought about by the 2010 census data which showed a disparity in population size between various city ward boundaries and legislative districts.

When census data is collected every ten years, one of the uses of this data is to assure that the population size for city wards and legislative districts is equal. Because there have been shifts in Janesville’s population, shifts needed to be made to city ward boundaries and legislative districts.

Now that the city has established ward boundaries, the new polling locations have been identified. Those who once voted at Wilson and Marshall will be moved to a new location. The city determines where that will be.

In compliance with state laws, polling locations need to be located within the ward boundaries. They must also be handicap accessible, supply adequate parking, provide custodial support, and have a location to safely store voting machines before and after a voting date. Ideally these polling locations would be in a public building; however, one of the concerns of opening schools as polling places is that schools have become much more secure environments in an effort to protect employees and students.


  1. Jean Wulf, city clerk/treasurer, told me that another factor is that they wanted polling places as close to the centers of the wards as possible.

  2. Ward maps for Janesville are posted in the Gazette's online election section, gazettextra.com/elections

  3. I know this is kind of late but I just wonder how much the city actually knows about how inconvienient a voting day is for some schools. I am the head custodian at Madison Elementary and voting day was always kind of a pain to deal with but with the cuts to custodial and new security measures it makes it very hard on us not to mention the children. At lunchtime our kindergarteners have to walk all the way around the whole school to get to where they are serving the food and then all the way back around with thier full trays to get back to the classroom to eat. As far as location, even the poll workers were talking to me about how inconvienient our location was because of the limited access with only one entrance and exit and the hill that people have to walk up to get to the building. I dont know what the answer is to resolve any of this but I think that Madison School is not a good fit as a polling place.
    Thank you.
    Steve Thiering
    Madison Elementary School
    Head custodian


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