NU will not host polling locations this Election Day
Sunday, October 25, 2020
by Emily Sakai
Northwestern was initially set to host two polling places on its Evanston campus Nov. 3, but less than a month before Election Day, the University said they would be unable to offer the polling locations.
The potential locations, the Alice Millar Chapel and Parkes Hall, would have been the designated polling places for voters in Precincts 1 and 4 of Evanston’s 1st Ward and Precinct 6 of the 7th Ward, which make up all the precincts in and around NU. In an Oct. 7 email to the Cook County Clerk’s Office, NU administration and Risk Management announced those locations would no longer be available.
“We worked with the Cook County Clerk’s office with the goal of establishing a polling place on the Evanston campus,” University spokesperson Jon Yates told the Daily in an email. “But because of the University’s COVID guidelines, arrangements could not be made by the time the Clerk’s office needed the details finalized.”
Frank Herrera, communications coordinator for the Cook County Clerk’s Office, said in an email the office reached out to the Hilton Garden Inn located at 1818 Maple Ave. about opening a polling place for the voters who were supposed to vote at the University.
“Our polling place team reached out to the Evanston Hilton Garden Inn, as they would any other polling place,” Herrera said. “The Hilton was happy to offer their space for Election Day.”
The change impacts Evanston residents and NU students in the three precincts registered with their Evanston addresses who have opted to vote in person. Though the University does not know exactly how many students are registered to vote using their Evanston address, Yates said as of 2018, 90 percent of NU students were registered to vote. He added that in the last presidential election, 94 percent of students were registered to vote and 58 percent voted.
Even though there will be no polling locations on the Evanston campus this year, the University is still working to offer a polling location on its Chicago campus, Yates said, and they are developing a plan to have a polling location on the Evanston campus again in the future.