Some Rock Island Co. voters say polling locations are biased against mostly black neighborhoods

“Why isn’t the voting more accessible to those groups? There’s not a whole lot of work being done as far as trying to enhance the vote in the ...

ROCK ISLAND-- Over the next two weeks, 86,000 people in Rock Island County will get a chance to vote. Early voting sites opened on Monday, like the Martin Luther King Jr. Center on the west end of Rock Island.

"I got calls this morning. People were upset," says former Rock Island Alderman Terry Brooks.

On Monday morning, the MLK Center was open for voters, but it was only for two hours as a traveling voting site.

"8:30 to 10:30. If I ran my grand kids to school, then showered, by the time I got back, this place would be closed," says Brooks.

Brooks says by closing off the polls at the MLK Center early, mostly black west end neighborhoods are being ignored.

"Why isn't the voting more accessible to those groups? There's not a whole lot of work being done as far as trying to enhance the vote in the black community," says Brooks.

But over at the county building, people disagree.

"There's many opportunities to vote," says Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney.

This week, there will be eleven locations of the traveling voting sites throughout Rock Island County. The election judges travel, replacing the old voting trolley.

Kinney says it's not all about location, sites are chosen based on past voter turn out numbers. Today at the MLK Center one vote was cast.

"If they show up, we'll increase the hours. If they don't turn out, then I can't afford to use taxpayer money to pay people to sit there when no one's there," says Kinney.

But for Brooks, the priorities are off.

"I don't think it's their job to go off current trends. I think it's their job as it's been preached, we want to have everyone access to vote, and I don't see that," says Brooks.

The primary is on Tuesday, March 20th.

For a full list of early voting sites and hours of operation, click here.