JAMESTOWN – The executive director of the National Comedy Center will be meeting with city officials next week to further discuss the issue involving using the NCC’s gift shop as a polling site on election day.
Executive Director Journey Gunderson issued a statement on Tuesday, confirming she will meet with the Jamestown City Council during its February 8 voting session.
Gunderson also responded to some concerns that were expressed during this week’s council meeting with the Chautauqua County Board of Elections. She said the NCC is willing to continue as the Ward 3 polling site if state authorities can confirm that this is legal. She explained the NCC received an advisory opinion last week directly from the New York State Board of Elections that using the NCC gift shop as polling site is prohibited because we have a liquor license.
That contradicts the County Board of Elections, which said the liquor license issue is only a factor of alcohol is being served in the same immediate area where voting is taking place, and that’s not been the case at the NCC.
Gunderson also said that the NCC is operating in accordance with keeping the former Gateway Train Station concourse open to the public, considering the gift shop is open to the public whenever it is open.
Gunderson noted that having the polling site at the Gift shop has been a significant disruption to the NCC business operations and safety protocols, which is why it is asking the Board of Elections to relocate the polling site.
“Since the train station concourse remains fully accessible to the public five days a week, year-round (seven days a week prior to COVID-19), we believe that we are operating in accordance with all agreements in regard to public access,” Gunderson said. “However, we are happy to request clarity from appropriate authorities in order to affirm that this is in full compliance.”
The Ward 3 polling site has been at the Gateway Train Station concourse since 2013 and the NCC agreed to allow it to continue to be there even after it took ownership in 2018.