Letter: Don't allow voting at religious institutions

 
Updated 7/5/2022 7:27 PM

My polling place for Lake County Precinct 257 was changed this spring from the Sullivan Community Center to a local Lutheran Church.

Concerned about this, I contacted Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor. After being ignored for two weeks, I sent another email questioning her lack of response. She never replied, but I did receive a communication from her polling site coordinator.

 

He sent me a generic list of vote-by-mail and early voting options, but did not address my specific request to see the legal language that allowed the county to host voting in a religious institution or any standards that would need to be met to do so.

Subsequently I went to my polling site on June 28 and as I expected, no efforts had been made to temporarily remove the numerous Christian crosses, artwork, recruitment materials or language that was plastered all over the walls.

I asked a precinct volunteer why this imagery hadn't been covered or removed and he only smiled at me. I left the precinct and did not cast a vote.

I am disappointed and frankly surprised at Lake County's refusal to consider the separation of church and state when selecting their polling sites. By selecting Christ Lutheran Church, they are ignoring how some people who are not Christian or even Lutheran might feel intimidated or excluded when asked to vote in an environment that is covered with Lutheran messaging.

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And while I know the precinct workers are volunteers, their complete indifference and refusal to create a welcoming environment to all voters speaks very poorly of them and Lake County.

Eric Martin

Indian Creek

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