Extra polling place available at U

Tatum Fjerstad

Carly Neubauer didn’t vote in 2000 because the lines at the Minnesota Department of Health building were too long.

“I heard it was a three- or four-hour wait,” said Neubauer, a nursing student junior.

After the long lines on Election Day 2000, the city of Minneapolis broke the University community into two voting districts, said Mike Dean, grassroots coordinator for the University Legislative Network.

In 2000, the only place on campus to vote was the Minnesota Department of Health building.

Neubauer said she plans to vote this year because this election is important, but the district change will help get her to the polls.

Students living in the superblock will vote at Centennial Hall. All others in the area will vote at Coffman Union.

“A district in this area hasn’t changed in 20 years,” Dean said. “By splitting the district into two, it’s going to be easier.”

Because the University’s population has changed, voting districts need to accommodate those changes, Dean said.

If people go to Coffman and it is not their polling place, computers will be available to look up where students should vote, Dean said.

On Monday, the Legislative Network put up posters and sent out letters and postcards to remind students and area residents where they should vote on Election Day.

City officials said they will be ready when students come to Coffman Union to vote.

“We are bringing the maximum number of booths to the Coffman location,” Minneapolis director of elections Susanne Griffin said.

To make sure enough ballots are available, Griffin said she and her staff monitored the number of people who preregistered and took 120 percent of that number. Then, they added that number to create the number of ballots needed.

In case ballots run out Election Day, the city has ordered absentee ballots to use as spare ballots. Election judges can also make copies of ballots and hand count them at the end of the day, Griffin said.

Officials are still working on the problem of parking.

“We are working with Mike Dean to reserve four or five parking spots on one side of Coffman,” Griffin said.

If students are looking to avoid long lines at the poll, she said, they should avoid the busiest times, which are 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Since people are so into this election, there will be long lines,” Neubauer said. “But I’m sure the change will help, somewhat.”