Board of Elections announces polling location changes in Cleveland Heights
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (BOE) has announced the closing of three Cleveland Heights polling locations, Boulevard Elementary School, Oxford Elementary School and Severance Towers. In addition, two precincts at other polling locations will move to new polling sites this November.
Erich Stubbs, election support official for the BOE, presented the changes to Cleveland Heights City Council on June 25. The changes are:
- Close Boulevard School polling place; move precincts 3C, 3E, 4E to Cleveland Heights Community Center (Rec. Center)
- Close Oxford School polling place; move precincts 5A, 5B, 5E to Caledonia School [Caledonia is part of the East Cleveland School District, but the building is in Cleveland Heights]
- Close Severance Towers polling place; move precinct 4G to Cleveland Heights City Hall Council Chambers
- Move precinct 2D from Fairfax Elementary School to Canterbury Elementary School
- Move precinct 2E from Lee Road Library to Fairfax Elementary School (to reduce the number of precincts voting at the library from five to four)
The changes reduce the number of Cleveland Heights polling locations from 18 to 16, and add one new polling location, the community center. No polling changes are planned this year for University Heights.
The BOE will send two letters notifying affected voters of the changes. The first letter will be sent sometime in September, according to Stubbs. In addition, signage will be posted at all affected polling locations on Election Day, indicating the new polling locations.
Stubbs explained that Oxford is closing because its ramp is not ADA compliant, with an incline that is “too high for a wheelchair.” In the case of Boulevard, Stubbs said that it was “more of a voter convenience issue,” and it is closing because the parking lot is too far from the voter location entrance. The Severance Towers location is closing because it is less than a quarter mile from another polling place, City Hall.
Asked if there had been complaints about accessibility at Oxford or Boulevard, Stubbs replied, “We didn’t get a lot of complaints, but my job is to make sure there is no issue. I keep in mind safety and ADA requirements. If we can’t resolve ADA issues, we move the location.”
In his analysis, Stubbs looked at the “top six cities” ranked by population (based on the 2010 census). They were (in order): Cleveland, Parma, Lakewood, Euclid, Cleveland Heights and Strongsville. While Cleveland Heights ranked number five in population, at 46,121, it ranked number four in number of registered voters, at 34,317, and number one in percentage of registered voters, at 70.72 percent.
Lakewood, with 35,731 registered voters, has 10 polling locations, compared with Cleveland Heights’s 16 locations for 34,317 registered voters. Stubbs said there are no plans to add polling locations in Lakewood, and that additional changes may be made in Cleveland Heights, but not until 2013. “We didn’t want to make a lot of changes in a presidential election year,” said Stubbs.
Kim Sergio Inglis
Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.