A new polling location near campus has been approved by the Office of the Registrar in an effort to make voting more convenient for students who live on campus.
Instead of having to travel more than a mile to Roger Williams Baptist Church on Adams Boulevard in order to vote, students living in Parkside apartments, Webb Tower, Fluor Tower and Cardinal Gardens apartments will be able to vote at the fire station on Jefferson Boulevard between McClintock and University avenues.
“[The fire station] was chosen because of its close proximity to a number of student housing complexes,” said Kerstyn Olson, deputy director of the Unruh Institute of Politics. “It’s more convenient for students.”
The fire station was the best option to make voting easier for students who live close to the station, as well as community members nearby, she said.
“The fire station has been a polling location before … it’s now become a possibility again,” said Micah Scheindlin, political director of USC College Democrats, who protested to the Registrar’s Office about the inconvenience of voting for on-campus students. “Because some of the precinct is off-campus, they prefer an off-campus location, and the fire station is convenient for students but is also off campus.”
Marks Tower will remain a polling location for those designated to vote there, but the Catholic Center, which in the past also served as a polling place for a number of students, won’t be available this year because of renovations.
“They’re creating a new polling place in lieu of the Catholic Center, which will be under construction,” Olson said.
That temporary polling location could be just north of campus at the Hillel Jewish Center at USC.
Because Hillel was still under negotiations as a voting location, Olson said it isn’t definite yet.
In finding this temporary polling location, the registrar was looking for a location in the same precinct as the Catholic Center, which would still be easily accessible to students.
The registrar plans to keep the fire station a permanent voting fixture.
“Some people may ask why we can’t use one polling location for all of campus,” Scheindlin said. “The reason is that the campus is divided into two precincts, and if you live on the west side of campus, you’ll actually be getting a slightly different ballot from the east side.”
Ballots and polling places depend on the county supervisor of each district, and — because the district line is drawn through campus — there are numerous polling places around USC.
Although the USC College Republicans weren’t involved in creating the new polling place near campus, chairwoman Katherine Cook said she is happy to know students have more options when it comes to getting their votes in.
“We commend College Democrats for their efforts to make the polling station accessible to students,” Cook said.