Grand Forks polling sites set except for one
The Grand Forks City Council agreed to a new set of 19 precincts with 11 polling locations, with one polling site yet to be determined. Council member Tyrone Grandstrand objected to having some campus area residents vote at the Alerus Center whil...
The Grand Forks City Council agreed to a new set of 19 precincts with 11 polling locations, with one polling site yet to be determined.
Council member Tyrone Grandstrand objected to having some campus area residents vote at the Alerus Center while others would vote at the on-campus UND Wellness Center on Princeton Street.
Under the new precinct plan, residents living west of Stanford Road and the residence halls south of University Avenue would vote at the Alerus Center.
"If we make it really difficult to vote for people, that's a problem," Grandstrand said. He asked that residents of the precinct vote at the Wellness Center or another location nearby.
Grand Forks County Auditor Debbie Nelson said that the center already had two precincts voting there and adding a third could crowd the building and inconvenience its users.
"We were really concerned that it would be too small for three precincts," she said.
Grandstrand offered alternatives including Lake Agassiz Elementary School, the School for the Blind, the Chester Fritz Auditorium or UND's Wilkerson Hall.
Council members discussed choosing a location after Nelson's office decided which one is suitable, but City Attorney Howard Swanson said he was uncomfortable deferring a council decision to the auditor.
The council eventually agreed on Lake Agassiz as polling site, but it would move to the Alerus Center if the school will not work as a site.
The members also discussed the value of having several polling sites spread across town versus consolidating voting at one place.
Council member Terry Bjerke said that he did not believe excuses for not being able to reach a polling site. "I'm not into excuses. I'm into consolidation," he said.
Council member Doug Christensen said that Nelson estimated the city could save $21,000 through consolidation, but he said voting access was worth the money. "We have to ask ourselves, 'What are we sacrificing for $21,000?'"
Also at Monday's meeting:
- The council approved an annual salary plan for city employees that includes $381,000 in pay increases.
- It also approved liquor licenses for Sam's Club, Pizza Ranch and Fuji Japanese restaurant; landscaping improvements for U.S. Highway 2 between the airport and North 55th Street; and Renaissance Zone benefits for a bakery relocating inside the Grand Cities Mall.
Reach Bjorke at (701) 780-1117; (800) 477-6572, ext. 117; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .