A wonderful thing happened in city governance recently. Concerned citizens, at the “11th hour,” learned that Councilor Ed Suslovic intended to offer an “emergency” measure to change the District 3 polling place from Woodfords Corner (Woodfords Congregational Church) to Stroudwater (Italian Heritage Center), and the voters of Portland moved quickly to action.

Although the church had decided no longer to provide its premises for polling, the Woodfords Club stepped in and offered its premises. Still, there seemed to be legitimate reasons for the change: Woodfords Corner is on the far side of the district, and the Woodfords Club, even though located directly across the street from the church, is not actually in District 3. However, voters had more pressing concerns.

There are a lot of bus-dependent folks in that area, and a bus trip from Woodfords to Stroudwater would require taking two buses and close to an hour trip one way. As a result this would, in effect, be low-income voter disenfranchisement (which is a big word, and a big deal). Of equal importance was the concern that a presidential election year is not the time to make a big change to what people are used to, in terms of traveling to a polling place.

Portlanders took to social media to spread the news and make their voices heard. The pending vote, together with the phone numbers of members of the City Council, was posted in a few Facebook locations, then widely shared onward. Councilors received a flurry of calls prior to their meeting, and perhaps not coincidentally, the vote was unanimous, with the exception of Suslovic, to retain the Woodfords location for the fall election.

I was delighted to learn of the outcome the citizens of Portland so resoundingly supported.

Gwynne Williams