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Massachusetts: Attention, shoppers -- voting in Aisle One

The Worcester Telegram reports: After last year’s elections, the Election Commission developed criteria to evaluate the city’s polling locations, and based on those evaluations, it found that a number of sites had problems or deficiencies that need to be addressed. Election officials then spent the past several months working on securing potential new polling sites.

What resulted was a series of recommendations, which include eliminating nearly all public school buildings as sites for residents to cast their ballots. In their place, election officials are looking to use more spacious digs in some church or synagogue halls, community rooms within apartment complexes and nursing homes, a college (Assumption) and, yes, even three supermarkets.

The common characteristics of all the new locations are that they have ample parking and are fairly easy to get to.

Perhaps the most novel idea is using supermarkets — Price Chopper, 72 Pullman St.; Stop & Shop, 949 Grafton St.; and Shaw’s, 68 Stafford St. — as polling locations. If those sites are adopted by the Election Commission, it is believed that Worcester would become the first community in the state to tap supermarkets for polling sites.

While some people might snicker at the idea of having people go to supermarkets to exercise their right to vote, Mr. Rushford feels it makes a lot of sense.“People aren’t going to be voting next to the deli or in the middle of an aisle,” Mr. Rushford said. “The areas that we are looking at in these stores are either off to the side in a quiet part of the store, or in the case of the Stop & Shop, in a board room on the second floor. People won’t be disturbed in these locations when they go to vote.” -- Worcester Telegram & Gazette Nick Kotsopoulos

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