April 10, 2015
The Honorable Robert Cluck
Mayor, City of Arlington
101 West Abram St.
Arlington, TX 76010
RE: Utilization of Arlington South Service Center by Tarrant County Elections
Dear Mayor Cluck:
I recently learned that the Arlington South Service Center will not be utilized as an early voting location for the upcoming 2015 municipal election, and I have serious concerns about the impact this decision will have on the constituents of House District 101.
As a state legislator, I try my best to avoid involving myself in city business; however, this matter has the potential to be precedent-setting, affecting the location of early voting sites not only in the May election, but in all elections going forward. Ensuring our constituents can exercise their right to vote without confusion or undue inconvenience must be a priority for all of us in public office, so I hope to provide you and the Council with an additional perspective on this issue.
I am first concerned with the number of people who will be affected, many of them District 101 constituents. Of the Tarrant County early voting locations, Arlington’s South Service Center served the highest number of voters during the 2014 General Election. Two years prior, it ranked second, serving 22,114 people, nearly six percent of the County’s early voters. This represents a disproportionately large number of voters, since there were between thirty-seven and forty-one other full time voting locations open during the same periods.
For many who live and work in and around Southeast Arlington, venturing across Cooper is something many of my constituents try to avoid unless absolutely necessary, given the high volume of traffic the road carries.
Perhaps most importantly, many residents of Southeast Arlington have had a years-long existing relationship with the South Service Center when it comes to voting. Changing the location of a high-turnout and longstanding early voting polling location is a decision that should not be made lightly, especially without the opportunity for public input.
I appreciate the efforts already made by City staff to address these and other concerns and hope that this issue can be resolved in a manner equitable to the voters of House District 101 and surrounding areas. It is my understanding that plans are being developed to address voter notification and location signage and that there has been discussion about convening a stakeholders meeting following the May municipal election. If the latter does occur, I request that a representative from my office be invited to attend.
Thank you for your consideration regarding this matter. If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact me or Tammy Dubberke, in my Arlington office. She may be reached by calling 817-459-2800.
Arlington City Council
Mr. Trey Yelverton, City Manager, City of Arlington
Tarrant County Elections Administration
Tarrant County Commissioners Court