Anyone who has voted in Albertville on a “big” Election Day has seen the issues.
Long lines wind out the door on a chilly November night. Parking is a nightmare as you compete with nearby restaurant-goers and bar patrons. And the space inside Albertville City Hall gets cramped with aspiring voters.
Despite this, the Albertville City Council voted earlier this month to remain as one voting precinct, saying the city can deal with high turnout and would rather relocate the polling place to St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West.
Mayor Jillian Hendrickson said, according to the North Crow River News, two precincts might do harm in two ways – split the city’s “small town feel” in half and confuse local voters as to which precinct they should attend.
Keeping the precinct intact, however, and moving the polling location to an area with ample parking and a large enough space for voters, such as a former high school gym (STMA MS West is the former high school location) would retain that feel and provide ample room.
City Clerk mary Olson said elections are scrutinized by the state elections board each year and having adequate space is part of the process. Albertville’s precinct is, historically, one of the largest in Wright County with more than 4,000 registered voters. Neighboring precincts in Hennepin, Meeker and Stearns counties are more on par with the average of 2,000 registered voters per precinct.
St. Michael, of course, has two precincts on the docket, with voters heading to STMA Middle School East and, recently moved its second polling location from Middle School West to the current St. Michael-Albertville High School at 5800 Jamison Ave.
Postcards will be sent to voters prior to the November 2014 election to inform Albertville residents of the new voting locations.