HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - On Election Day next Tuesday, there will be more than 800 polling locations in Harris County where voters will be able to cast their ballots. One of those locations is at a woman’s residential garage in Old Braeswood.
Back in 1982, Joanne Brodksy went business to business in Precinct 472 in Old Braeswood, searching for a place to volunteer as an official polling location but couldn’t find any.
"I went into every business along Holcombe and everybody said no, they don’t want it there. And so, I called the county back and said no one will do it," Brodsky said.
Instead, she volunteered her home garage. For the last 40 years, her garage on the 2300 block of Underwood Street has served as an Election Day voting center, as listed on HarrisVotes.com.
The equipment, which includes nine voting booths and Plexiglass for the election workers, was dropped off on Tuesday. Additional sanitation supplies will be picked up over the weekend.
On Election Day itself, Brodsky says she wakes up at 4 a.m. to get ready and physically move the machines for the tedious setup process.
"There’s a lot to do. You've got to plug this machine into that machine into this machine. And with the new iPads, you have to make sure it’s communicating with whatever’s up there. It's tedious," Brodsky said.
The finished setup looks just like any other polling location in the county.
A spokesperson from the Harris County Clerk's Office says Brodsky's home is the only residential voting location in the county.
According to the clerk's office, the only requirements are that voting locations offer enough space, be compliant with the American Disabilities Act and residential locations can’t be related to any candidate on the ballot.
Over the years, Brodsky says she and her husband have prepared for every scenario. This year, she’s bought a supply of masks, an air purifier, and even has plans to set up a tent along her driveway if it rains.
"The nice thing about the driveway is if you want to curbside or if somebody couldn’t walk, they could drive into the driveway and then would be very close to the voting machine.
"And in case it was going to rain, we were going to put up a tent on our dime because if it was raining, it would be horrible. But it looks like it's going to be lovely on Tuesday," Brodsky said.
Ultimately, her goal is to help make voting as easy as possible.
"There should be more polling. It should be easier. It shouldn’t be this difficult and not all this tumult about mail-in. There should be mail-in, there should be drive-thru, you should be able to register on the day and prove that you’re there. Voter suppression is real and it’s a shame," Brodsky said.
As for Brodsky herself, this year she early voted at a drive-thru location because she was curious about how that process would look like. However, typically, Brodsky says she and her husband cast their ballots in their own garage.