By David E. Cozad, April 14, 2015
Arlington, TX: Moving one of the heaviest turn-out early voting sites in Tarrant County, (and the only early voting site south of I-20 in Arlington), without an extensive media campaign to notify the residents who normally vote there, is bad government.
Poorly planned and executed, this move of the early polling site from the City of Arlington’s South Service Center to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church gives the impression that it was done for political purposes, perhaps to benefit the incumbents in the local elections in May. This may not be the intent, however perception is vital in maintaining and building trust among constituents. The South Service Center Early Voting location is one of the heaviest minority voting sites in the County. The new location is farther west, leaving the heaviest minority quadrant of Arlington without an Early Voting Location.
I support the NAACP in their objection to the closing the South Service Center as an Early Voting Site. If Tarrant County Election Administration and The City of Arlington are concerned that, in the future, the South Service Center, will not be adequate to accommodate the voters, the prudent move would to add an additional site in the SE quadrant of the city, NOT TO CLOSE the MOST POPULAR Early Voting Site in the part of the city with the highest density of minority voters. A “replacement” sites should be located within a couple of blocks or east of the current one, not in a different quadrant of the City. St. Joseph’s is in SW Arlington! The current site is closer to S Central Arlington.
By moving the only Early Voting site south of I-20 even farther west will make it more difficult for working, middle class and elderly voters to access the site on their way to work or home. It appears the Mayor and the City Council are trying to reduce the influence of those voters on the local elections. I am hoping this is not the case.