Letter: Changing polling places is voter suppression

To the Editor:

Wikipedia defines voter suppression as “a strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing people from voting.”

After attending Mary McClellan’s presentation on polling place consolidation, my opinion is that she is engaged in suppression, not consolidation.

She claims to have researched and communicated with school districts concerning the “consolidation,” but will not release that information.

She claims to have met with members of both political parties to better implement the “consolidation,” but my invitation to that meeting seems to have been lost.

Ms. McClellan is changing the polling places for more than 50 McHenry County precincts and has done little to notify the voting public.

She has started mailing new voter registration cards to affected voters, but there are reports that the information on the card does not match information on the clerk’s website or the Illinois Board of Elections.

On March 20, thousands of McHenry County residents may be prevented from voting because they will go to the polling place they have gone to for years and it will the closed (don’t worry, Ms. McClellan will put up a sign).

They may choose to go to work or return home because they don’t have time to find the new location. Hundreds more may be discouraged from voting because they now will be jammed into a “consolidated” polling place with multiple precincts. They may choose not to wait because they have to pick up their kids or go to their second job.

Whether Ms. McClellan is engaging in deliberate suppression or accidental suppression is debatable, but the results are voter suppression and it should not occur in McHenry County.

Without immediate improvements, the March 20 primary election is shaping up to be a bigger fiasco than the 2016 primary election (also overseen by Ms. McClellan) that required court intervention to maintain polls open and ensure voter access.

Carlos J. Acosta