Nakoosa Trail Serves on a Front Line for Democracy as Polling Site
By Mahanth Joishy, Fleet Superintendent & Rachel Darken, Interim Public Works General Supervisor
If you follow current affairs even superficially these days then you know that an epic battle is playing out across America and around the globe between Democracy vs. Autocracy. Whether it’s Ukraine, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Iran, Russia, or right here in Wisconsin the lines are being drawn by courageous people every day. We don’t often get political in our work but when it comes to democracy we don’t consider it controversial to pick a side.
And nothing is more sacred to democracy than free and fair elections. On November 8, 2022 the Fleet team was proud to open our doors to Madison citizens and host a bustling polling location once again at the Fleet Headquarters building on Nakoosa Trail, as we have done several times before since officially opening in 2020. This site has been chosen for its geographic location as well as the spacious Fleet training room’s features that make it well suited to manage voting smoothly over an entire day or for many days as we’ve done for early voting in the past. The training room was also used extensively over many days and evenings for poll workers to be, well, trained for the November 8 midterms.
Although he barely had a moment to take a quick break, Chief Inspector Adam Haen managed to share his thoughts about the site. He has worked elections for 8 years, and this is his 3rd election at Nakoosa. He told us he really likes this location as all of the tables and the space itself provide for a good flow through the polling place, and so far it has only become cramped on big general election days. “Today it has been busy – as of 2pm there were only 10 minutes since we opened the doors to voters (at 7am) that there hasn’t been a line, and the line actually started forming before opening at 6:30 am.” Well, we honestly loved hearing that there was steady work because of strong turnout!
Matt Allie was a poll worker at Nakoosa for November 8 and is also an employee at City Engineering. He first started working elections in the spring of 2020 and has helped out since then. Today’s election has been as busy as any of the others he’s worked, including the general election in 2020. He was excited to be working at the Nakoosa location so he could see one of the newest City facilities that his City division helped to build and also maintain today, and he told us it’s worked well as a polling location. The site has even been a little “crunched at times,” given the volume of voters. “Everyone coming through the doors has been very pleasant today, which was something people were a little worried about given the political climate,” Matt said.
We applaud the City of Madison Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl and the Clerk’s Office team for managing the large and complicated election system smoothly every time, and we are proud to support our friends there by hosting the location and also assisting with transportation logistics for election equipment and personnel, including real-time GPS tracking. We are also proud of every poll worker for being a part of the front lines of democracy, and we will always open our doors for the important institution of voting enshrined by Constitutional amendments.