Latah County officials are hoping to use the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center in Moscow as a polling location this November and for future elections after voters packed the Latah County Fairgrounds at last year’s midterm election.
The fairgrounds is the only polling location for Moscow residents. But if the HIRC is approved as a polling site, precincts 2, 3, 4 and 17 — which comprise most of north Moscow’s voters — will vote at the city recreation center on East F Street, Latah County Elections Director Jennifer Henrichs told county commissioners Monday.
Henrichs said there are 3,802 registered voters in the four north Moscow precincts, and about 800 of them reside outside the city limits.
All three county commissioners acknowledged last year’s record-setting crowd at the fairgrounds. It was the highest voter turnout in Latah County for midterm elections since 1994.
“That’s good voters are getting involved and engaged and want to be a part of the process,” Commissioner Dave McGraw said.
McGraw said identifying a new polling location now is a good idea considering the 2020 presidential election is sure to draw large crowds.
“I think it will reduce the crowding at the Latah County Fairgrounds for sure,” Commissioner Kathie LaFortune said.
Henrichs said the proposed polling place would result in minimal operational costs. She said Moscow plans on not charging the county to use the HIRC as a polling site.
The county is working on an agreement regarding the new location. Henrichs said the county commissioners sign off on polling locations.
Three Moscow City Council positions — held by Kathryn Bonzo, Jim Boland and Anne Zabala — are up for election Nov. 5. Other city and district positions throughout the county likely will be on the ballot as well.
Once the HIRC location is finalized, Henrichs said she and Henrianne Westberg, who is an auditor, clerk and recorder will search for a University of Idaho polling location for next year’s presidential election.
Westberg opted not to open the Kibbie Dome for voters to cast their ballots at last year’s midterm election because students and the general public do not typically turn out in large enough numbers for midterms to warrant two voting stations. Officials have mentioned in the past that access to the Kibbie Dome is not ideal for those with physical disabilities.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to email@example.com.