Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I voted today -- in a church

Voted to fund 911 for cell phones and for two bond issues for the local school district.

I vote for every school bond issue that comes along because so many people think their duty is done after their kids graduate -- or worse, they think they should not have to pay for schools because they don't have kids at all.

It galls Dr. ER, who was raised Catholic, to have to vote in a Baptist church, but she does if she wants to vote, because that's where our polling place is.

Before this, in Texas, I voted at an elementary school named for Davy Crockett.

Before that, in the same town in Texas, I voted at an "alternative" school for "troubled" teens.

Before that, in Stillwater, OK, I voted in an armory.

Before that, before I moved away from home, which at the time was smack between two small towns, I voted in the city hall of one of them.

What kind of joint do you vote in? Has anyone else voted in a church, or is that just an Oklahoma thing?


It's a church here in Colorado -- but don't say that loud enough for Michael Newdow to hear. Someone might -- gasp! -- get offended, after all ...
In the last town I lived in there were two polling places in my neighborhood and both were churches. The really weird part was that I had to walk past the closer one to get to mine!

Have also voted in a park lodge, a used car dealership, an elementary school, and a college's student union, as well as via mail (both absentee and as a regular ballot while living in Oregon).
I've voted in a church in Kansas, also a senior center and the public library. I think it's about having enough parking and a big enough area to house several voting booths as well as the election officials. I hope.
I can't figure out how church polling places haven't been pointed out as, ah, incongruous with the notion of a secular gubment.

I mean, I don't mind, but Dr. ER is soprt of creeped out about it, since she was abused as a teen by Baptists who teased her for being Catholic (making the Lord very pleased, I'm sure.)

And I would raise holy hell, so to speak, if I had to vote in a mosque.
Back home, my polling place was the local volunteer fire station. Where I'm at now, I vote in a Masonic Lodge. I've got no idea how polling places are chosen.
ER said:
"And I would raise holy hell, so to speak, if I had to vote in a mosque."

How about a Synogogue or a Buddhist Temple?
OK church-pollsters - I'm assuming that the voting takes place on church grounds or maybe in a fellowship hall of some sort, right? If the same were to occur at another place of worship (be it Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, etc), I don't think it should be an issue. However, if the voting takes place in the main sanctuary, then even I have a problem with it (Christian church or otherwise).

Does anyone here know how polling locations are chosen?
I vote at City Hall now, but the people across the street vote at a hardware store. Out in the county, quite a few neighborhoods vote at church, because lots of precincts lack any other buildings. We also use bingo halls!
For the Oklahomans on here remember that you can vote any time seven days before the designated election day by going to your county board of elections office to vote, not to mention absentee voting. Tried to find Polling place selection criteria for Oklahoma. No such animal so far.
Drlobojo, I would prefer not to vote in any place or worship or other place meant for a purely religious purpose.

Rem, sanctuary or foyer, if to be able to vote you have to vote in a place that stands, religiously, for something you don't believe in, then how can that be right?

On the other hand, if everybody stinking person, or eligible voter, in a given precinct is happy voting in a church, then no outsider should raise a stink over it -- and that's the reason the ACLU pisses people off. They often (but not always) go starting fights where none existed before.
I've voted in a church. Why would you object to voting in a mosque? That's bizarre.
Polling places are simply chosen in terms of community-type buildings that have large enough spaces within a given geographic area, and that are willing to provide access, I think.
B, you are right about the access thing.

But as a practitioner of one part of the First Amendment, and a firm believer in the other parts of it, I am hypersensitive to the wisdom of keeping government in one sphere and religion in another.

And I would object to voting in a mosque for the sasme reason I would expect most Moslems to object to voting in a Christian Church -- and I don't see how that's bizarre at all.

They're not *just" buildings; they are built spaces consecrated for specific religious purposes that have eternal meaning. I mean, we're not talking the Lions Club versus the Elks Lodge here.
But presumably one is voting in the institution's community center / hall or something, not right in front of the altar.
Yes. ... Maybe I'm gritchy because I noticed a bunch of those awful Jack Chick tracts -- and I mean the awful ones, because they're not all awful, but it's close -- in a wall dispenser that you had to walk past to get to the voting booths. One of was the the-pope-is-the-devil anti-Catholic one. It's no wonder Dr. ER is creeped out to have to vote there.
The only way I'd be worried about voting in a building owned by a religous organization is if they were using their religion to keep others from voting.

That being said, I feel Dr.ER's pain concerning abusive Baptists, and I was a bit hesitant the time I found out that my polling place was in a Baptist church. But I see voting as both a right and a duty, and damned if I was going to let the location stop me.

As it turned out, the voting booths were about as far from the sanctuary as it was possible to get, no one was trying to convert anyone, and the little old ladies staffing the tables were just as perky and kind as they were in each of the four states I've voted in.
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