For years, Portlanders living around Woodford’s Corner, one of Portland’s most diverse intersections, have been able to walk down the street to the Woodford’s Congregational Church to cast their votes in every election. After tonight, that may no longer be possible.
Recently, the church decided that they no longer want to serve as a voting location due to the logistical challenges of hosting voters and the frequency with which the church has been holding their own events.
The Woodford’s Club, right across the street, has said that they’d be happy to serve as a voting location, a proposal which has earned the support of Portland City Clerk Katherine Jones and many local community members.
However, Councilor Ed Suslovic who represents Portland’s Third District where Woodford’s Corner is located, has come forward with a proposal of his own, advising that, instead of simply moving across the street, all Woodford’s Corner voters cast their ballots at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland’s Stroudwater neighborhood, almost two miles away.
Due to the fact that the City is currently finalizing its voting logistics for November, Suslovic has submitted the change as an “Emergency” motion, meaning that it will get voted on tonight shortly after it is proposed.
Suslovic has argued that parking at the Woodford’s Club may be overly congested, but many critics fear the change will make voting much more difficult for the elderly and low income residents around Woodford’s Corner who might not have cars.
Critics also point to the fact that Woodford’s Corner’s more affluent residents will probably have an easy time driving the two miles to the new location, potentially skewing the demographics of who ends up voting.
This is a big deal.
If you have a minute, I encourage you to call Portland’s two swing vote councilors, Spencer Thibodeau at 207-650-2147 and Nick Mavodones at 207-774-0257.
As I see it, if Portland’s going to have a functioning democracy, which is a pretty big “if,” we all deserve the right to vote, regardless of where we live or how much money we have.
Portland is for everybody!