Blaine, Columbia Heights, Fridley and Spring Lake Park have designated their polling places for the 2020 primary and general elections, and some locations are moving due to a new state statute.
During the 2020 session, the Minnesota Legislature passed a statute making changes to election administration for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the changes enacted says “schools must be only used as a polling place when no other public or private location is reasonably available.” The statute also stipulates that if a municipality or county has designated a school as a polling place, the municipality or county must work with school staff to minimize contact between students and voters.
Blaine, Columbia Heights, Fridley and Spring Lake Park moved many of their locations to allow for better social distancing during the 2020 elections.
The 2020 primary election will take place 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11. In-person and mail-in absentee voting started June 26 and run through Aug. 10.
The 2020 general election will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, with in-person and mail-in absentee voting Sept. 18 through Nov. 2.
Many cities are urging voters to vote absentee. Due to COVID-19, there is no witness requirement for registered voters for the primary election. Ballots can be requested by mail at tinyurl.com/y82vzlcn.
Secretary of State Steve Simon is recommending that all voters wear masks to the polls, but election officials cannot turn away voters who aren’t wearing a mask.
To learn more about the 2020 elections, visit the secretary of state’s website, at sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting.
The Blaine City Council designated the city’s polling places June 15.
No discussion was made by the City Council, and the polling locations were unanimously approved in the consent agenda.
Here’s a list of the Blaine polling locations:
• Ward 1, Precinct 1: University Avenue Elementary School, 9901 University Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 2: Mary Ann Young Center, 9150 Central Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 3: St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, 707 89th Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 4: Christ Lutheran Church, 641 89th Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 5: National Sports Center Welcome Center, 1750 105th Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 6: Infinite Campus, 4321 109th Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 7: Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 9185 Lexington Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 8: Centennial Senior High School Performing Arts Center, 4757 North Road.
• Ward 1, Precinct 9 and Mail-In Ballot: Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 1: King of Glory Church, 10103 University Ave. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 2A: Madison Elementary School, 650 Territorial Rd. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 2B: Hope Church, 1264 109th Ave. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 3: Jefferson Elementary School, 11331 Jefferson St. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 4A: Abundant Life Community Church, 1105 117th Ave. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 4B: National Sports Center Welcome Center, 1750 105th Ave. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 5: Oak Park Community Church, 12050 Aberdeen St. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 6 and Mail-In Ballot: Blaine City Hall, 10801 Town Square Drive NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 1: Blaine United Methodist Church, 621 115th Ave. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 2: Spring Lake Park, Blaine, Mounds View Fire Station #3: 11920 Ulysses St. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 3: Happy Acres Park Building, 11900 Seventh St. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 4: Way of the Lord Church, 804 131st Ave. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 5: Johnsville Elementary School, 991 125th Ave. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 6: Northpoint Elementary School, 2350 124th Ct. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 7: MAS Blaine Masjid, 12175 Aberdeen St. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 8: Bridgewood Community Church, 11670 Lexington Ave. NE.
For more information on Blaine’s 2020 elections, visit tinyurl.com/yak94mwv.
The Columbia Heights City Council designated the city’s polling locations June 23.
City Clerk Nicole Tingley said Highland Elementary School and Valley View Elementary School are typically the designated polling places for precincts 4, 6, 7 and 8.
“Staff reached out to multiple alternative locations for polling sites and was able to identify alternative polling locations for precincts 6 and 8,” she said. “City staff was not able to find reasonably available options for precincts 4 and 7. It is recommended that precincts 6 and 8 are changed ... and that precinct 4 remains at Highland Elementary and precinct 7 remains at Valley View Elementary.”
The new location for precinct 6 will be at Hylander Center, and precinct 8 will be at ChristLife Church.
Tingley added polling locations for precincts 4 and 7 at Highland Elementary School and Valley View Elementary School are located in the gymnasiums with entrances off of the main doors, so voters and students will have no contact with each other.
The City Council unanimously approved the following polling locations.
• Precinct 1: John P. Murzyn Hall, 530 Mill St. NE.
• Precinct 2: Immaculate Conception Church, 4030 Jackson St. NE.
• Precinct 3: Columbia Heights Library, 3939 Central Ave. NE.
• Precinct 4: Highland Elementary School, 1500 49th Ave. NE.
• Precinct 5: First Lutheran Church, 1555 40th Ave. NE.
• Precinct 6: Hylander Center, 1400 49th Ave. NE.
• Precinct 7: Valley View Elementary School, 800 49th Ave. NE.
• Precinct 8: ChristLife Church, 4555 University Ave. NE.
The Fridley City Council designated polling locations for the city back on Nov. 25 of last year.
The City Council has no plans to address the latest COVID-19 state statute on polling locations, because alternative locations for the polling places at schools could not be found. Here’s a list of Fridley’s 2020 polling locations:
• Ward 1, Precinct 1: Grace Evangelical Church, 755 73rd Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 2: Hayes Elementary School, 615 Mississippi St. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 3: Fridley Civic Campus, 7071 University Ave. NE.
• Ward 1, Precinct 4: Fridley Community Center, 6085 Seventh St. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 1: Woodcrest Elementary School, 880 Osborne Rd. NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 2: Michael Servetus Unitarian Church, 6565 Oakley Drive NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 3: St. Philip’s Lutheran Church, 6180 Highway 65 NE.
• Ward 2, Precinct 4: North Park Elementary School, 5575 Fillmore St. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 1: Springbrook Nature Center, 100 85th Ave. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 2: Redeemer Lutheran Church, 61 Mississippi St. NE.
• Ward 3, Precinct 3: Stevenson Elementary School, 6080 East River Road.
• Ward 3, Precinct 4: Fridley Covenant Church, 6390 University Ave. NE.
For more information on Fridley’s 2020 elections, visit tinyurl.com/yc9kxhmg.
Spring Lake Park
The Spring Lake Park City Council designated the city’s polling places June 15.
City Administrator Daniel Buchholtz said that due to the new state statute for the 2020 elections, city staff reached out to Emmanuel Christian Center to make the church the new polling location for all precincts. The church agreed to the move. In the past precinct 1 was at City Hall, while precinct 2 was at Spring Lake Park High School and precinct 3 at Park Terrace Elementary.
Buchholtz said the move to the church allows staff “to more easily address any potential shortages of election judges due to COVID-19 by reallocating judges between polling places depending on need” and allows staff to work from Emmanuel Christian Center on Election Day to support election judges.
The City Council unanimously approved having all precincts at Emmanuel Christian Center, which is located at 7777 University Ave. NE.
For more information on Spring Lake Park’s 2020 elections, visit tinyurl.com/y94bkblk.
How to become an election judge
Local cities are seeking election judges for the 2020 primary and general election.
Many cities have lost election judges this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, because many who usually serve as judges are in categories at higher risk from the coronavirus.
Election judges are responsible for the administration of election procedures in each polling location on Election Day. They open and close polls, register and sign in voters, distribute and collect ballots, operate voting equipment, and record and certify the vote totals.
Election judges must be eligible to vote in Minnesota; able to read, write and speak English; appointed by the city council; have completed training and be certified as an election judge. Election judges cannot be a candidate in that election; cannot be a spouse, parent, stepparent, child, stepchild, sibling or step-sibling of any current election judge serving in the same precinct or of any candidate in that election; cannot live, either permanently or temporarily, with any candidate on the ballot during that election and must declare party affiliation, if any.
Applicants must complete a written application and interview, either in person or on the phone. Training is two to four hours, depending on the election cycle, and is paid.
Election judge position wages range roughly from $10-$15 an hour, depending on the city.
Students who are at least 16 years old may serve as student judges alongside election judges with the same duties and pay.
Cities will provide personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer for election judges to help protect them and voters against COVID-19.
For more information on how to become an election judge in Blaine, visit tinyurl.com/yak94mwv; for Columbia Heights, visit tinyurl.com/y9rgmk5t; for Fridley, visit tinyurl.com/ybsbc9st and for Spring Lake Park, visit tinyurl.com/y94bkblk.