How you can get to the polls this election season

Mitch Felan

As this year’s election season comes to a close, some voters are starting to wonder how they will make it to the polls to vote for their candidate.

Kent Social Services and the Portage County Board of Elections both confirmed they will not be shuttling voters to the polls. PARTA, however, will be offering its normal services throughout the election season. According to PARTA’s planning director, Katherine Manning, one of the bus service’s newest features can help voters get to the polls.

“You can use our new SPOT PARTA program. It’s just like Google Maps,” she said.

The program was formally launched last month, and while it is best known for its use of GPS tracking, it also offers a trip planner on spotparta.com and the SPOT PARTA app.

“You just enter where you want to go, put in what time you want to get there by and then hit the big ‘go’ button,” Manning said. “This is really good for anybody who wants to get anywhere using our buses — not just to the polls, but to anywhere in the county.”

But Clayton Popik, PARTA’s route planner, said the best route to take to reach the Portage County Board of Elections is Route 35.

“From (Kent Central Gateway), you would take (Route) 35 to Ravenna, and when you get to the (UH Ravenna) hospital you would transfer over to the (Route) 80 bus. That’ll take you down to the Portage County administration building, where the Board of Elections (Office) is located,” Popik said.

Popik also said that bus services around campus will be available to take students to the three polling locations on campus: United Methodist Church on Main Street, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the Kent State Student Center.

Meanwhile, a few on-campus organizations have been holding independent events to get Kent State students to the polls.

First was Taco Tuesday to the Polls, which took up to 30 students to cast an early vote at the Board of Elections last week. The event was organized by the Kent State University for Hillary group.

Next was an event by the Kent State College Democrats, who hosted a touring luxury bus that sent Kent State students to the Portage County Board of Elections.

“The (Democratic National Committee) sent us this really cool luxury bus and it’s the ‘Forward Together’ bus that’s going on tour (around the country),” said Hana Barkowitz, president of College Democrats.

For Ohio, Forward Together is the joint campaign effort in support of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland, according to Barkowitz.

“There was about seven of us going because we only found out the day before,” Barkowitz said. “But it was a ton of fun … and we got to vote early, which is always good.”

While Barkowitz said it is unlikely the College Democrats will host another early voting event before Election Day, all events will be posted on the organization’s Facebook page.

Mitch Felan is the safety/transportation reporter, contact him at [email protected]