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Election mishandled at one poll
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Editor, I take exception with the Coastal Courier’s recent report, “No issues at local polls.”
Upon completing my errands on a hot, Georgia summer day, dripping with humidity, I thankfully remembered to vote. I drove to my familiar polling place behind Hinesville City Hall only to discover it to be wrong. I was redirected to the Hinesville Middle School gym. Sweating but undaunted, I jump into my old, black Saab and made my way to HMS only to discover the gym’s front doors were locked. A small sign instructed me to go to the back of the building. By that time, I was really sweating and not just from the heat!
I made my way to the building rear to be greeted by the filthiest entrance to any public building I’ve recently been in. Embarrassing!  Entering the old gym is like returning to the 1950s — a warm school gym in the dead of summer.  With sweat pouring off my face, I finally arrived. Some ice water sure would have been nice!
More of the same followed — no ice water for the voters; some water for the volunteers; a decrepit, dank gymnasium; and only two other voters in the entire polling center.  The kind volunteers manning the center told me they were supposed to set up shop inside the modern, air-conditioned pre-K center next door, but were instructed the night before election day to move back to the old gym.
How ironic is it that we exercise one of our most priceless tenets of democracy in such shabby, substandard conditions when the beautiful Liberty County Board of Education building sits right next door?
As reported, the low voter turnout was typical. Why was there no effective publicity prior to the election, especially at the recent LibertyFest? Why not publicize the polling places? Why make voters trudge around the outside of a building on a sweltering, summer day and insist on using the most uncomfortable location when seemingly better ones exist next door? Why even bother to vote if it is just a run-around accompanied by lots of sweat? If this is typical, we are setting our standards too low. Contrary to the assessment, “everything went so smoothly,” in another man’s opinion, this performance is deserving of someone’s relief of command.

— Curtis Velasco
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