Single poll could be standard for Minot

A single, central polling place for Minot could be a regular occurrence in future elections.

The Minot City Council, meeting as the Committee of the Whole, discussed the idea Wednesday at the suggestion of the Ward County Auditor’s Office. If adopted, Minot’s four polling places would be consolidated into one at Minot Municipal Auditorium.

At one time Minot had 17 precincts for voting. The number was reduced to four – one in each quadrant – in 2012.

Minot has held elections previously in a single location in the auditorium. The city held an election there on March 1, 2016, when voters decided to change the city’s charter for the purpose of revising the form of government. An election was held in the auditorium this past June when residents elected the new council.

Council members voted 7-0 Wednesday to return a favorable response to the county auditor’s proposal, which now requires a final decision by the county.

City Finance Director David Lakefield explained some of the reasons for proposing a single poll:

® difficulty in finding handicapped accessible polling places.

® difficulty in finding polling places because schools and many churches no longer are available.

® difficulty in finding an adequate number of poll workers.

® overlapping of boundaries of different voting districts, such as legislative, schools and city.

® reduces the chance and the inconveniences that occur if someone goes to a wrong polling place.

® reduces the cost of an election.

“I think this is a wise move – simplify the process for everybody,” council member Josh Wolsky said.

Council member Stephan Podrygula agreed and added the city also should invite the county to hold early voting in the auditorium. The auditorium provides ample parking. Lack of parking is an issue at the current early voting location in the county administration building, he said.

In other business, the council voted to call for proposals from nonprofits to operate a family homeless shelter as part of the city’s National Disaster Resilience Program. The council voted to call for proposals from developers and large tract owners with 35 buildable lots within Minot for resilient neighborhood construction through the resilience program. The focus of the single-family housing would be to provide relocation options for low- to moderate-income homeowners in the buyout areas.