WILLIAMS BAY — Any Williams Bay voter who goes to the village hall to vote this spring will be going to the wrong place.
The Williams Bay Village Board voted Jan. 21 to change village’s polling location to the Lions Field House, 240 Elkhorn Road. The change takes effect with the April 2 municipal election.
“The field house is a good choice,” Village President Bill Duncan said. “That was based on feedback we heard from voters and staff about long lines at the last election.”
Village staff looked at some alternatives and decided that the field house would be a better location for elections.
“I think the location is bigger and has positive advantages,” said Phyllis Janda, Williams Bay’s chief election judge. “I think that’s a fair assessment.”
Village Administrator James Weiss said that in an addition to more room, the field house has better access.
It has plenty of parking, it has two doors, which will allow for better flow, he said.
The village hall has one door to enter and exit for voters.
“And that is not conducive to the numbers of voters we’ve seen,” Weiss said.
There isn’t as much indoor waiting room at village hall, either.
“Once you go out that door, you’re outside,” Weiss said.
If there are 25 to 35 people waiting to vote at village hall, some will have to wait outside. And the weather in April and November elections is unpredictable.
At the last November election, some voters had to wait outside, Duncan said.
The Election Day set up at the field house will also be different than at village hall.
In the past, the village used tables with dividers, which are handicapped accessible.
“When you’re sitting next to each other, you tend to talk to each other,” Weiss said.
Once in the field house, the village will have a handicapped accessible table, but it will also have voting booths to speed up the flow of voters, he said.
Also, those who have to register will be able to walk in directly to the registration table, rather than waiting in line with registered voters, Weiss said.
He said he doesn’t anticipate any additional costs to the village by moving the polling place. The village owns the field house.
Duncan said the village will post notices and run ads to inform voters of the new polling place.
The new location is also conveniently located near village hall, Duncan said.
“It’s right down the hill ,” he said.