Generation Z BASIS Scottsdale Students launch The Polling Place, an Online Voting Guide for Arizonans

Do you want to know who is running for the Arizona State Legislature?

Or for seats on the 11 largest school district governing boards?

Or for County Offices in all 15 counties?

Or all the nominees for the State Legislature and Congress?

Voters who live in these locations no longer have to sort through a slew of online material and voting guides.

They can just click on the Polling Place, an online resource formed last July by Karsen Wahal, Anuka Upadhye, Anya Wahal, Alicia Wu, and Madhura Shembekar, a group of enterprising and enthusiastic Generation Z High School and College Students who all attend/attended BASIS Scottsdale Academy.

This new site is an invaluable resource where voters can conveniently and readily access candidate websites in one location as well as other, if available, informative links like Ballotpedia, Votesmart, and even Blog for Arizona.

Ms. Upadhye and Mr. Wahal graciously took the time to discuss their new site, why they formed it, and what their plans are for this year and beyond.

The questions and their responses are below.

1) What is the electoral purpose of The Polling Place? 

  • “We consolidate candidates’ backgrounds, policy platforms, and legislation into comprehensive profiles. We are nonpartisan and data-driven — we want to make informed voting accessible for you. The Polling Place is intended to be a resource for ALL Arizonans, so you can cast your vote confidently.

 2) What is the major reason the Polling Place was formed?

 “We were researching candidates for the primaries and realized that it’s extremely difficult to find detailed information on candidates in Arizona. Informed voting is inaccessible. So we created The Polling Place: a data-driven, nonpartisan website to inform all Arizonans on elections.”

3) What is the staffing strength in Arizona and in what parts of the state?

 “Everyone who works on The Polling Place lives in Maricopa County. However, we have all researched extensively so that we can provide detailed information on every part of the state, from Greenlee County, the least populous county, to Mesa Public Schools, the most populous school district.”

4) What are at least two electoral goals for 2020?

  • “Establish a single, consolidated database of information to ensure information is accessible and understandable to every voter with regards to most candidates on your ballot including state legislature nominees, county office seekers, judicial candidates, mayoral nominees, and city council candidates in the eight largest cities,  and school board members in the 11 most popular school districts.”
  • “Increase voter turnout in the 2020 election in every level of politics, from the U.S. Senate to the local school board, by making information about candidates more accessible.”

5) What are the names of the campaigns the Polling Place is currently assisting?

 “The Polling Place does not tangibly assist any campaigns and is entirely nonpartisan. Rather, we have researched almost all candidates that will appear on Arizonans’ ballots so that they have access to the information they need when they fill out their ballots.”

 “However, numerous campaigns support The Polling Place’s mission and have reposted our website on their various social media. Notable supporters include:

  • Joan Greene, candidate for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.
  • LD9 Democrats.
  • Mariana Sandoval; candidate for Arizona House LD13.
  • JoAnna Mendoza, candidate for Arizona Senate LD11.
  • Whitney Walker, candidate for District Three Board of Supervisors.
  • ASU March for our Lives.
  • AANHPI for Equity. 

We are also featured in The Scottsdale Progress newspaper.)”

6) What are at least two long term goals Post 2020 for the Polling Place?

  • “Improve our scope for Arizona. We hope to research not only the eight most populous cities in Arizona and the 11 most populous school districts in Arizona, but we hope to include all cities and corresponding candidates.”
  • “After we perfect the website for Arizona voters, we hope to expand to other states with support from more staff.”
  • “Finally, we hope to improve the website and our online presence so we can reach more voters and make it more user-friendly.”

 “But, for now, we are focused on making The Polling Place as thorough as possible for Arizona.”

7) Is there anything not covered in the first eight questions that you would like the reader to know about the Polling Place?

 “The Polling Place is a great resource to help you vote, regardless of your political ideology. We highly encourage you to use it and spread the word to your friends and family!”

 Arizona Voters will be well served by visiting the Polling Place and seeing the information on candidates it provides.

Please remember:

  • The General Election Day is on November 3. 2020. Please see the below graphic for all-important voting dates. 
  • Please check your voter registration at vote.
  • Register/sign up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) in Arizona or any state that allows early or absentee balloting and mail. Arizona residents can sign up at vote
  • Arizona residents, mail your General Election ballot by October 27, 2020, for the November 3, 2020 election. With recent issues with the Post Office, you should consider mailing them out by October 23, 2020, if not earlier. 
  • Check-in with the Secretary of State’s office where you live to verify your mail-in ballot was received, processed, verified, and counted.
  • Know the voter ID requirements in your state.
  • If you can, support Clean Election Candidates with a small contribution.
  • Also, please remember to stay informed on all the candidates and vote for all the offices on the ballot.
  • Also, remember to research all the ballot initiatives, sign to get them on the ballot if you support the measure, and vote on them as well.