Neblett, Sportscenter, new DCMS among proposed polling places for May primary; plan not yet approved

January 27, 2023 | 12:10 am

Updated January 27, 2023 | 8:02 am

File photo

The H.L. Neblett Community Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter could be added to this year’s polling places according to a current proposal, which also calls for using the new Daviess County Middle School instead of Highland Elementary. Nothing has been finalized, as the proposal has to be approved by both the local and state board of elections.

County Clerk Leslie McCarty said the Daviess County Elections Board is expected to vote on the plan at their February meeting. If approved, the proposal would then go to the State Elections Board at their March meeting, in time for the plan to be implemented ahead of the May 16 Primary Election.

“We’ve met with the Sportscenter several times so that went well. We did a site visit with H.L. Neblett and that went well too,” McCarty said.

After receiving some complaints about locations in the 2022 General Election in 2022, McCarty said her office immediately began conversations with community advocates and officials at the proposed locations to find a remedy.

According to McCarty, Sportscenter officials have already promised to reserve the facility on election days to allow for voting for the next 5 years.

Polling places must meet requirements set forth by state law — with one major hindrance often being the number of parking spaces. While that’s not a concern at the Sportscenter, the Neblett Center has limited spaces. However, McCarty said that officials have promised parking will be available across the street at Fourth Street Baptist Church.

“We’re trying to have people come in and out through the back of the Neblett. But of course, if you have a wheelchair you would have to go through the front. We’re going to figure out a way to make work for that community,” she said.

The final major piece of the proposal is simply using the new DCMS building rather than Highlands.

McCarty said adding both the Sporstcenter and Neblett would give Daviess County 14 polling places for the May primary — five of which are within city limits.

Currently, five places are reachable by the Owensboro Transit System. McCarty said she has been in conversation with City Manager Nate Pagan to ensure that other places that are just shy of the bus route — such as Daviess County Middle School and Legacy Church — can be reached.

Rhondalyn Randolph, Owensboro NAACP President, said the new locations are a good gesture; however, she thinks there could still be more locations.

“I would love for it to go back to the way it was where our polling locations will be located within the precincts. Now, that would help with accessibility where you live, but it would take away the flexibility. I think with the changes, there is some give and take,” she said.

Randolph said that while Third Baptist Church (which essentially served as the replacement for the Sportscenter) was a good location and closer to the bus station, getting on the bus and navigating was a hard task to complete for some voters.

“That logistically made it more difficult too. And if you have a disability, wheelchairs, things of that nature, that just meant you had to work that much harder just to go vote,” Randolph said.

Nonetheless, Randolph feels McCarty took the concerns of the community and worked to ensure she found different locations throughout the community to make voting “more accessible for those who have additional barriers than the general population.”

The full proposed list of polling places is as follows:

  • Owensboro Christian Church (2818 New Hartford Road, Owensboro)
  • Third Baptist Church (527 Allen Street, Owensboro)
  • Legacy Church (former Malco Theater) (5333 Frederica Street, Owensboro)
  • H.L. Neblett Community Center (801 West 5th Street, Owensboro)
  • Owensboro Sportscenter (1215 Hickman Ave, Owensboro)
  • Daviess County Middle School (3901 Fairview Dr, Owensboro, KY)
  • Audubon Elementary (300 Worthington Road, Owensboro)
  • Yellow Creek Baptist Church (5741 Highway 144, Owensboro)
  • St. Martin Catholic Church (5856 KY-81, Owensboro)
  • Masonville Baptist Church (6601 US 231, Utica)
  • St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church (7232 KY-56, Owensboro)
  • Whitesville Baptist Church (10167 KY-54, Whitesville)
  • Mary Carrico Catholic Church (9546 KY-144, Philpot)
  • Utica Fire Department (146 KY-140, Utica)

January 27, 2023 | 12:10 am

Share this Article

Other articles you may like