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When a voting booth is a home


2333 Hathaway

Alhambra , CA United States

A house on Hathaway Avenue displays an American flag tacked onto a tree. But it's not just for decoration – on Tuesday, as it has for nearly two decades, it marked a beloved polling place for Alhambra residents.  The two-story coffee colored home is tucked away behind Atlantic Boulevard and Hellman Avenue in an area that borders Monterey Park, but neighbors of the Alhambra residence have been voting there ever since Susan Kolm first opened her home about two decades ago. On opening her home to voters, Kolm  simply said, “It’s fun. I wouldn’t miss it!”

At six in the evening, about four residents were anxiously waiting in line to do their civic duty while all of the polling booths were occupied. “ I think it’s fantastic. You feel a part of the community when you vote at the house,” Letty Mendez said before walking back to her father’s home around the corner. “You feel appreciative when your neighbors and other residents take the time out to volunteer because they care.”

Winnie Wang: There’s a great sense of community when you’re voting here.

Voters were directed by official polling signs to enter through the backyard of the home where polling booths were set up right through the door’s threshold to the family room. Once inside, it is almost as if one has not left the home to vote. A kitchen countertop served as a table for provisional voters and Kolm’s cushioned wooden chairs were provided to the volunteers as they assisted in the civic process. One voting booth was right next to a sage green couch. Light chatter between neighbors waiting in line filled the air as others quietly voted in the booths. “I come every election and I feel very comfortable here,” Josie Constantino said while waiting in line to enter the home. “There are people from my community that are there to help and it’s very nice to be able to talk to them.”

After voting, some Alhambra residents stayed behind to talk to their neighbors lingering in the backyard, some said a quick greeting before leaving.

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