Elections director breaks a glass door to open a polling location on time
Pima County Elections Director Brad Nelson: "If we have to do a little forcible entry we are not above doing so."Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Valerie Cavazos
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) -- Voting by mail has become a popular choice during elections, but there are those who like to do things the old fashioned way -- like showing up at the polls. And the Pima County Elections Division will take any steps to make sure no one is denied an opportunity to vote.
Senior citizen Rosemary Bacon couldn't wait to vote back when she turned 21. "And I've never missed an election since and I've voted both side of the aisle," said Bacon. And each election she's cast her ballot by hand. "I don't know I feel more of a part of it than if you do it by mail."
And Pima County's Elections Director Brad Nelson understands that. "To them, it's not really voting until you come into that social atmosphere where you have that experience with the poll worker and feel your ballot going into that ballot box," said Nelson.
So when the doors didn't open on time at one polling place near River and Campbell, Nelson took matters into his own hands. "The poll worker who was assigned to work at that location was given the key and all the other information on entrance -- overslept. He didn't show up until an hour later," said Nelson.
The only solution: Nelson used a crowbar to break a glass door to make sure no voter is ever turned away. 'Polls are to be open 6am to 7pm and if we have to do a little forcible entry we are not above doing so," he said.
Nelson said there were no lines of voters, as far as he knows, but a few voters did show up a short time later. "We weren't quite ready but they said they'd be willing to come back so nobody was denied."
Had Rosemary Bacon arrived earlier, would she have returned? "Oh yeah. It's my job," she replied with a chuckle.
There are 288 polling locations in Pima County. Because of the growing popularity of mail-in ballots, Nelson says the number of polling locations will continue to dwindle in future elections.
The glass door was repaired several hours later.