It Pays to Complain: City moves church polling location

The church marquee in 2016 included attacks on secularism.

While church polling locations are common across the country, FFRF’s hometown of Madison, Wis., has taken affirmative steps to not alienate secular voters. On Jan. 16, the Madison City Council voted to move a polling location from a church to a public library. The council approved moving the Ward 31 polling location to Lakeview Library from St. Paul Lutheran Church.

FFRF Senior Counsel Patrick Elliott, who voted in the basement of the church for many years, complained to Madison officials about using the church as a polling location. In 2016, the church’s marquee included messages that attacked secular Americans during the same week that citizens were voting at the church.

Wisconsin law provides that polling places “shall be public buildings, unless the use of a nonpublic building better serves the needs of the electorate.” FFRF asserts that the move to a more inclusive location is best for Madison residents.