AUBURN — The City Council decided not to consolidate Auburn’s polls into one location for the upcoming special election in June, saying the move could cause confusion or deter voters.

In Auburn, the school budget validation referendum and special election for the Ward 4 City Council seat will be held June 13. 

The council voted 4-1 Monday against consolidating to a single voting location at Auburn Hall. Staff recommended consolidation because of an anticipated low turnout, even if there is a statewide special referendum.

City staff said consolidating into one location would save the city about $6,000. 

Despite the expected savings, Councilor Andrew Titus said consolidation is “a bad idea.” 

“I think there are a few things we owe our citizens, and one is the opportunity to vote,” he said. 

Other councilors agreed, including Grady Burns who said citizens are still getting used to the redrawn ward lines. He said some voters were still appearing at the wrong polling location during the last general election. 

“This would be another change where we’re directing voters to another polling place,” he said. 

City Clerk Susan Clements-Dallaire said Monday that Auburn has historically consolidated polling during every odd-year June election. 

“I think we should be saving money wherever we can,” said Councilor David Young, who cast the lone affirmative vote. 

Councilor James Pross said, “This could cause some confusion among voters, and that’s not worth $6,000 in my mind. People are facing enough challenges to get out and vote.” 

According to the City Council memo, consolidating would save $4,324 to staff four additional polling places and another $1,670 to program the number of ballot machines needed at each location.

According to Clements-Dallaire, state law requires a public hearing and municipal approval at least 90 days prior to the election in order to consolidate voting places.

“This does not include the costs for Public Services or City Clerk staff to set up booths, signs and equipment at each location,” the memo said. 

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Auburn polling locations:

Ward 1 – Washburn School, 35 Lake Auburn Ave.

Ward 2 – Auburn Middle School, 38 Falcon Drive

Ward 3 – Fairview School, 397 Minot Ave.

Ward 4 – Auburn Hall, 60 Court St.

Ward 5 – Sherwood Heights, 32 Sherwood Drive 

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