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Midterm election voting in MP to be held at Veterans Hall Second change in venue for Nov. 4 polling site

GTNS photo by Grace King

Voting for the Midterm election voting has been moved from Cottrell Gymnasium to the Mt. Pleasant Veterans Hall, located at 300 West Monroe Street. This is the second change of venue for polling places for Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4.
GTNS photo by Grace King Voting for the Midterm election voting has been moved from Cottrell Gymnasium to the Mt. Pleasant Veterans Hall, located at 300 West Monroe Street. This is the second change of venue for polling places for Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Voters in Mt. Pleasant Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4 will be voting at the Veterans Hall at 300 W. Monroe Street in Mt. Pleasant in the general election on Nov. 6.

This is the second time the place to vote has been changed this year. Previously, voting was to take place at Faith Christian Outreach Church in Mt. Pleasant. After some pushback from citizens of Henry County and the Henry County Democratic Party Central Committee, County Auditor Shelly Barber is moving the Midterm Election voting site to the Veterans Hall.

“In hope to maintain a good relationship with the citizens of Henry County, we have changed the temporary site for the Mt. Pleasant Wards 1, 2, 3, and 4 to Veterans Hall at 300 W. Monroe Street in Mt. Pleasant with parking on all sides of the building,” Barber said in a statement. Entrances to the Veterans Hall are located on the north, east and west sides of the building.

The voting site was originally moved to Faith Christian Outreach Church because of the need for a climate-controlled location for the electronic voting equipment. In the June election, voting was held at the Cottrell Gym, where temperatures rose to over 100 degrees, creating an unhealthy environment for workers and voters alike.

Although many churches across Iowa are used as polling sites, a letter to Barber dated Oct. 8, from Chairman of the Henry County Democratic Party Jeff Fager argued that it was an “act of voter suppression” to hold polling in a church.

In his letter, Fager writes that the church is not a readily accessible location to the many voters who walk and bike to the site. He also argued that the polling site must be in a public venue to promote impartiality.

Barber, however, maintains that she did nothing wrong in moving the polling place to a church. In a statement Barber said it is within her authority as Commissioner of Elections to move the polling site.

Barber originally settled on Faith Christian Outreach Church because it met the needs for climate control, availability, parking and ADA compliance. Barber did not consider using a school as a polling site because of the new security requirements for schools.

Additionally, Barber said if people were unable to get to the polling site, they could vote in the Auditor’s Office starting on Oct. 8 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Saturday, Oct. 27 or Nov. 3 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or request a ballot be mailed to their home.