Bellaire - Meyerland - West University | Nov. 2020

PEOPLE Joanne Brodsky

BY HUNTER MARROW

Resident’s Old Braeswood garage serves as election polling place for nearly 40 years J oanne Brodsky began her

Joanne Brodsky has continued to open up her two-car garage as a polling place for nearly 40 years. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

to the Texas election code, residences can serve as polling locations as long as it is not occupied by a candidate or a relative of one. Periodically, Harris County reviews the voting pattern in each precinct to determine who will serve as presiding judge; the other judge becomes the alternate election judge. In the upcoming election, Brodsky will be presiding, while Garnett will serve as the alternate. “We have a lovely working relation- ship,” Brodsky said. A similar warm and inviting atmo- sphere can be felt in Old Braeswood during election season and on election day, Brodsky said. Though COVID-19 health guide- lines prevent her from doing so this election cycle, Brodsky has, in the past, set up a playpen in her front yard for children while their parents wait in line to vote. Connecting and participating in the elective process with her neighbors has always been a pull for Brodsky in continuing her duties as a precinct chair and election judge. “You get to see your neighbors,” she said. “You get to check in, hear about what’s going on. It’s lovely.” For someone with a passion for vot- ing and the elective process, it helps that, politically, the neighborhood has always been rather active. “This neighborhood has a real core group who is concerned about everyone voting, both Republican and Democrat,” Brodsky said.

duties as an election precinct chair for Precinct 472 in Hous- ton’s Old Braeswood neighborhood in 1982. And she has served in that position ever since. “I really believe in our election process,” Brodsky said. “I think everybody should vote.” Brodsky took that attitude a step further, however. Not content with just performing her duties as Democratic precinct chair — identifying members of her party living in the precinct and encouraging them to vote — she opened up her own two-car garage as a polling place. Brodsky has been retired for the past several years from her position as a nurse at Texas Medical Center’s Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, though even when she was working a full-time job, Brodsky was serving in the position. She registered her address at 2347 Underwood St., Houston, as an ocial polling place—one of over 800 voting centers in Harris County open on Election Day Nov. 3—and will be helping set up voting machines on Election Day alongside her Republican counterpart, Ann Garnett, who also opens up her own garage when voting oversight shifts to her party. This is possible because Brodsky and Garnett serve not only as election precinct chairs, but also as election judges, Brodsky said. And according

PANDEMIC POLL PREP Harris County is requiring extensive personal protective equipment to be used at all polling locations, including in and around Brodsky’s garage, to help protect against infectious diseases such as the u and COVID-19. Equipment is split for use by voters and by election workers.

PPE for voters

PPE for election workers

Hand sanitizing station: one per location placed near the entryway of the voting room Alcohol wipes: Voters will be asked to use a wipe to clean the voting machine before voting. Finger cots: Voters will use a nger cot to sign their name and to vote. Floor decals: Decals encouraging 6-foot social distancing will be placed throughout the voting room entrance and beyond. Surgical masks: will be provided for voters who do not have one and would like to wear one

KN95 masks: One per election worker is required at all times while working. Face shields: Though not required, election workers are encouraged to wear them. Hand sanitizer: One to two bottles will be provided on tables near election workers on Election Day. Disinfecting wipes: Workers will wipe shared surfaces every one to two hours. Medical infrared thermometer: Each election worker will have their temperature checked before each shift. Tabletop sneeze guards: two per voter qualication table

SOURCE: HARRIS COUNTY ELECTION REFERENCE MANUALCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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BELLAIRE  MEYERLAND  WEST UNIVERSITY EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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