AUBURN — City officials are eyeing the East Auburn Baptist Church off Park Avenue as a possible site for a single, citywide polling place this November.
City Clerk Roberta Fogg said she toured the church grounds last week and spent the first part of this week touring the city's five current polling places.
"I need to get the lay of the land to really determine what we have and what we'd need to replace," Fogg said. She's reviewing state election laws to determine what the city can do.
The City Council has scheduled a public hearing for Monday to get comments on a proposal to site all city voting at a single polling place.
Councilors are scheduled to vote on the proposal at that meeting. According to Fogg, the city must certify its polling places 90 days before the November election. That date would be Thursday, Aug. 4.
Monday's public hearing will be part of the council's regular meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The regular meeting will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. workshop.
City Manager Glenn Aho said combining polling places would save the city about $3,000.
"It is a savings for the city, and that's good," Aho said. "But if we can't make it work, we'll do what makes the best sense for the city. If we can't do it, we can't do it."
Last year, the city hosted voting at five polling places, one in each ward. Councilors approved a budget in May that consolidated those into one polling place, but they didn't settle on which place.
Aho said he and city staff have been looking for a place central enough to the city with enough room for all of the voting equipment and enough parking for all of the voters.
Fogg said that's what she's looking for as she reviews possible polling places.
"This is a very passionate issue for people, and we respect that," Fogg said. "This is an effort to make our operation most cost-effective, but we also need to see if there is a way that having one polling place can enhance the voting experience. "
If councilors decide to go forward with a single polling place, they will have to decide how the ballots will be collected. They could choose to have five distinct polling areas within the single polling place, letting the city maintain voting statistics on statewide issues by ward.
But the city could save more money by sending all voters through the same lines and to the same voting machines, regardless of ward.