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Our forthcoming early voting problems

This is the view in front of the West Gray Metropolitan Multi-Service Center, also known as the busiest early voting location in Houston. 8,390 people voted early here in the 2013 election. There was a water main break there, which caused foundation damage, and as you can see it is closed for repairs. Given the seriousness of the damage (which happened before all the recent rain we’ve had) and the need to go through a competitive bid process to get a contractor to do the fix, this could take months. Early voting for the November election begins in a bit more than three months. What are the odds that the Metro Multi-Service Center will be available by then?

My guess is, pretty slim. So we’d better be thinking about alternate locations. I sure hope someone in the County Clerk’s office and City Secretary’s office is already on this, but in the (sadly probably likely) event that they’re not, let’s help them out a bit. Alternate locations should be 1) inside the Loop, since the West Gray location is about the only Inner Loop EV center outside of downtown (yes, I know, the Fiesta on Kirby at OST is inside the loop; I’m looking for something more central, ideally in HD134); accessible via public transit and on a main road; and 3) actually available, with no scheduling concerns, for at least a two week period in October. The West End Multi-Service Center is one possibility, though it’s not nearly as big as the West Gray center and hosts some public health events that might cause crowding issues. Another interesting possibility might be a vacant storefront – the old Audio/Video Plus on Waugh is still sitting empty, and it has a (small) parking lot, with street parking available around it. Maybe its owner would rent it out cheaply to the county for a month.

These are just a couple of suggestions. I rather think the best answer will be to find two or even three small locations to fill in for the West Gray center, as I seriously doubt there’s one location that’s big enough to substitute for it alone. Like I said, I hope someone other than me is thinking about this, and I hope there is a workable solution being planned. I’m just not willing to take any chances on that. What do you think? Leave any suggestions or other bright ideas in the comments.

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3 Comments

  1. Mainstream says:

    First, I am more confident than you that the county administration is being proactive on this.

    TX DOT building on Washington at I-10 has ample parking, easy location, and is in HD 134.

    St Lukes’ Methodist Church has huge parking, is on a major street accessible by public transit, and is also in HD 134.

    HEB grocery store at Alabama and Dunlavy might work.

    St. Thomas university probably has locations which would work.

  2. voter_worker says:

    My hunch is that the Clerk’s election team has been looking at this, beginning on the day of the event.

  3. I’m pretty sure that the next closest location would be the Harris County Administration Building (1001 Preston St.) in downtown Houston. This is where I always vote and there is never a line.

    Some may be wary of parking in downtown, but it’s just as easy to park somewhere along the Metro Red Line and ride the train, as the building is directly adjacent to Preston Station. It’s worth a try for those seeking an alternative.

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