As the August general primary election approaches, Ann Arbor voters will see a change in their on-campus polling locations, as the residence halls will no longer be used as voting stations.
In an effort to maintain security, polling stations previously located in on-campus residential halls will be shifted to non-residential campus buildings. This move is the result of conversations between University and city officials, with the aid of University Housing and the Division of Student Affairs.
Voters who previously reported to Bursley Hall, Mary Markley Residence Hall, East Quadrangle and South Quadrangle will now vote instead at Pierpont Commons, Palmer Commons, the Michigan League and the Michigan Union, respectively.
University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said though the residence halls have not previously had any security incidents during voting days, housing officials have had concerns about opening up the buildings to the public, particularly as the voting process has changed to an electronic system.
Logan added that because parking around the residential halls is difficult to find, University officials felt they could better uphold their commitment to on-campus residents’ safety while making polling locations more accessible to the public by pursuing other on-campus locations.
With the summer primary elections, Logan said University officials were also concerned about how summer groups staying in residential halls, like South Quad and orientation students staying in East Quad, would be affected.
The Northwood Community Center will remain a voting location because it does not house any residents, Logan said.
Because the new replacement locations are still situated on campus, Logan said he feels the University and the city worked well together to accommodate voters.
“We’re pleased with the result, and I believe the city is pleased with the result too,” Logan said.
Ann Arbor City Clerk Jacqueline Beaudry said the public was made aware of the change in locations, as every registered voter in Washtenaw County was sent a card informing them about the change in locations last June. During the primary elections, Beaudry said there will also be signs on the doors of the previous locations, which will direct the voters where to go instead.
Jim Kosteva, the University’s Director of Community Relations, said the Government Relations Office has been working to create a better atmosphere for voters at polling locations in general. Their work includes brainstorming methods to reduce the time that voters will stand in line and to make the locations more accessible.
Kosteva added that he thinks the voters will be able to easily adapt to the new on-campus polling locations.
“I think and hope that voters will see very little difference outside of the physical location and that they will find it as equally accessible and easy to cast their ballot at these locations,” he said.