What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

30 May 2012

This is What Democracy... Walks Like

Today's my car-free day here at Cheekyness. Yesterday was the primary election in Texas, in advance of the general in November-- the parties got to vote for who they want to run in the general. I'm not about to invoke politics into the poli-free zone that is my blog, so just in case you're wondering: I'm not a member of a political party, but Texas is an open primary state, so I can vote in either primary election. Usually I choose the one with the more interesting races. Sometimes I sit out the primary and let people who are actually interested in their party's outcome do the choosing (although not often).

This time around, there were interesting races on both ballots, so I set out early to vote before I went into BikeTexas. They've moved our polling place, for reasons passing understanding, so instead of being in a busy shopping center like it has been since we've lived here, it's in a YMCA (a really nice facility, by the way) that is in the heart of our precinct. So far, so good, yes? Well, not so much. This precinct includes a lot of low-income families and people who are transit-dependent, not to mention mobility-impaired. The YMCA is 3/4 of a mile away from the nearest bus stop (and about a mile from the next nearest), and it's on a busy highway with no sidewalks leading to it.

What does lead to it? Weeds. Lots of them. And wildflowers. I'm all for wildflowers, but I'm not so into wading through them while pushing my bicycle (I needed it after I got done voting, but I can't ride through weeds that well). I was also genuinely concerned for my own safety; it's not unheard-of for pedestrians in Austin to be hit by out-of-control cars, even when the pedestrians were well off the road. I would hate for all the internet comments on the news story to be about how it was my own fault, and how dumb I was to be walking there, etc., etc., so I tweeted:

I did make it in one piece, cast my ballot, and then headed out again-- this time, to cross the highway so I could catch a bus 3/4 of a mile down the road on the other side. The opposite side of the road turned out to be even thicker with weeds and even harder to push through. Sigh...

Needless to say, I sent an email to the county clerk's office, thanking them for their service to the voters of Travis County, but asking them to please consider moving our polling place to somewhere that is more accessible to transit users. After all (I didn't include this bit in the email), nowhere in the Constitution does it say that one must have a car to participate in the democratic process, and I don't think it should be a requirement, even in car-loving Texas.

What do you think about polling places? Is there such a thing as an ideal location?


Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a perfect polling station. The one close to us has lousy parking, the alternative they chose a couple of years ago had even worse parking. I can't walk to the polling station but by the time I find a place to park I may as well have.

Misha Gericke said...

Yeah that's really not a smart choice for a polling station. Hope that they choose a better one next year.

Carole Anne Carr said...

On our small island we don't have polling places in such places, we are too overcrowded to have vast open areas. It sounds really dangerous.

Su said...

@Delores: Oh, dear.

@Misha: We have another election in July, and then another in November... maybe I'll find a good way to get there by then.

@Carole: Dangerous on foot, certainly. :(