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> Voting in Church, Ever do that?
AuthorMusician
post Oct 12 2010, 10:40 AM
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I was surprised to learn that 72% of El Paso County, home of conservative Colorado Springs, polling places are located in churches. Apparently public schools and libraries don't have enough room.

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My current polling place is in our fairly new public library. I don't recall ever voting in a church, but it might have happened. Still trying to dredge up any vestigial memories of this. The physical space has become moot because now I'm on the mail-in ballot system.

Question for debate:

Why should/should not polling places be restricted to only secular publicly-owned venues (libraries, schools, courthouses, other city/county-owned buildings)?
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Dontreadonme
post Oct 12 2010, 11:26 AM
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Why should/should not polling places be restricted to only secular publicly-owned venues (libraries, schools, courthouses, other city/county-owned buildings)?

Apparently the placement of polling locations by precinct is determined by State and local governments, so long as they comply with various Federal regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. I'm not in favor of using sectarian locations for this purpose however, and believe that they should be limited to public venues. I vote at my Fire Station.
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JohnfrmCleveland
post Oct 12 2010, 01:13 PM
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Why should/should not polling places be restricted to only secular publicly-owned venues (libraries, schools, courthouses, other city/county-owned buildings)?

I've voted at churches before. For some reason, a lot of them have really nice gymnasiums...

The only reason I can think of to keep voting booths out of churches is because I don't want any goofy influence affecting the vote. And if someone feels wrong about voting for, say, a pro-choice candidate while a giant wooden Jesus is looking down at them from the cross, then it's not worth it. Of course, maybe one would be more inclined to vote for benefits for the poor, who knows. I suppose you might have the same site-inspired influences anywhere - voting in a decrepit school or firehouse (or, a too-fancy school or firehouse, if they exist) might swing a vote or two.

I personally don't have a problem with voting in churches. I'm glad to be getting some value for the tax breaks we're giving them.
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Raptavio
post Oct 12 2010, 01:53 PM
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I am a secular person and my polling place is located in a church. I never had a problem with this.

My last polling place was also in a church. The place before that, a fire station. Before that, a public school building.

I don't see the issue here at all. There is no endorsement one way or the other, either of church by state or the opposite. It happens to be a convenient public building with the facilities and parking capacity to handle the flow of voters in the precinct.

Ironically, the city hall/police station is a block away from my polling place. They just don't have the capacity to handle the pollingplaceness.
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Ted
post Oct 12 2010, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Oct 12 2010, 06:40 AM) *
I was surprised to learn that 72% of El Paso County, home of conservative Colorado Springs, polling places are located in churches. Apparently public schools and libraries don't have enough room.

Source Article

My current polling place is in our fairly new public library. I don't recall ever voting in a church, but it might have happened. Still trying to dredge up any vestigial memories of this. The physical space has become moot because now I'm on the mail-in ballot system.

Question for debate:

Why should/should not polling places be restricted to only secular publicly-owned venues (libraries, schools, courthouses, other city/county-owned buildings)?

My polling place is the Town Hall but I have voted in churches (and Synagogues) in the past and could care less as long as I am free to wait my turn in peace and vote.

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scubatim
post Oct 12 2010, 10:22 PM
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My current voting place is in a church. I have never seen Jesus looking down at me as the actual polling place is in a common room, not the sanctuary. I doubt many polling places are set up in the actual room where worship services are performed. I don't have a problem with voting in a church, but again I am not baffled or scared of religion. My previous polling place was at the community theater. Interestingly, the atmosphere is no different between the two.
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Paladin Elspeth
post Oct 12 2010, 10:34 PM
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Why should/should not polling places be restricted to only secular publicly-owned venues (libraries, schools, courthouses, other city/county-owned buildings)?

I am sure that some people do not like the idea of having churches as polling places. I have never had a polling station that was a church, but I have voted in school buildings and fire halls.

It seems to me that it has everything to do with the facility in question having enough room. There are probably bars somewhere in this country that serve as polling places because there simply isn't another place around to do so. I am sure that people who pride themselves on never having gone to a bar or had an alcoholic drink do not want to vote there. I noticed on the absentee ballot application that one of the reasons a person can vote absentee is if the polling place is against their religion.

While it would be ideal to have polling places that do not influence voters positively or negatively when they vote, it seems impractical to build public facilities expressly for voting.
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akaCG
post Oct 13 2010, 12:01 AM
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Thought I'd add this to the thread:
QUOTE
...
A new study shows that where you vote affects how you vote. People who vote in schools, for example, are more likely to support a school funding initiative. The researchers suggest that the same sort of psychology might affect people who vote in churches.
...
Mr. SMITH: People who were assigned to vote in a school versus another type of polling location were a little less than one percentage point more likely to vote in favor of the initiative raising the sales taxes to support schools.
...
Other scientists who study voting behavior are intrigued. John McNulty is a political scientist at Binghamton University in New York. He's personally voted in churches, lobbies of apartment buildings, a laundry room...

Professor JOHN MCNULTY (Political Science, Binghamton University): I remember once I voted in a car dealership.

GREENFIELDBOYCE: And he's heard of voting booths in supermarkets, boat marinas, private homes, ...
...

Link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.p...toryId=91822707

Intriguing. The car dealership location caught my eye. I wonder whether one could influence voters' decisions by concentrating cars of a certain color near where people are waiting to vote. Red if you want to subliminally nudge them to vote Rep, blue if Dem.

smile.gif

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