Resident’s Old Braeswood garage has served as election polling place for nearly 40 years

Joanne Brodsky has continued to open up her two-car garage as a polling place for nearly 40 years. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)
Joanne Brodsky has continued to open up her two-car garage as a polling place for nearly 40 years. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

Joanne Brodsky has continued to open up her two-car garage as a polling place for nearly 40 years. (Hunter Marrow/Community Impact Newspaper)

Joanne Brodsky began her duties as an election precinct chair for Precinct 472 in Houston’s Old Braeswood neighborhood in 1982.

And she has served in that position ever since.

“I really believe in our election process,” Brodsky said. “I think everybody should vote.”

Brodsky took that attitude a step further, however.

Not content with just performing her duties as Democratic precinct chair — identifying members of her party living in the precinct and encouraging them to vote — she opened up her own two-car garage as a polling place.


Brodsky has been retired for the past several years from her position as a nurse at Texas Medical Center’s Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, though even when she was working a full-time job, Brodsky was serving in the position.

She registered her address at 2347 Underwood St., Houston, as an official polling place—one of over 800 voting centers in Harris County open on Election Day Nov. 3—and will be helping set up voting machines on Election Day alongside her Republican counterpart, Ann Garnett, who also opens up her own garage when voting oversight shifts to her party.

This is possible because Brodsky and Garnett serve not only as election precinct chairs, but also as election judges, Brodsky said. And according to the Texas election code, residences can serve as polling locations as long as it is not occupied by a candidate or a relative of one.

Periodically, Harris County reviews the voting pattern in each precinct to determine who will serve as presiding judge; the other judge becomes the alternate election judge. In the upcoming election, Brodsky will be presiding, while Garnett will serve as the alternate.

“We have a lovely working relationship,” Brodsky said.

A similar warm and inviting atmosphere can be felt in Old Braeswood during election season and on election day, Brodsky said.

Though COVID-19 health guidelines prevent her from doing so this election cycle, Brodsky has, in the past, set up a playpen in her front yard for children while their parents wait in line to vote.

Connecting and participating in the elective process with her neighbors has always been a pull for Brodsky in continuing her duties as a precinct chair and election judge.

“You get to see your neighbors,” she said. “You get to check in, hear about what’s going on. It’s lovely.”

For someone with a passion for voting and the elective process, it helps that, politically, the neighborhood has always been rather active.

“This neighborhood has a real core group who is concerned about everyone voting, both Republican and Democrat,” Brodsky said.
By Hunter Marrow
Hunter Marrow came to Community Impact Newspaper in January 2020. Before that, Hunter covered local news in Ontario, OR for three years, covering municipal issues, crime, and education across Malheur County and across the border into Idaho.


MOST RECENT

The University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic college in Houston. It also has a microcampus in downtown Conroe. (Emma Whalen/Community Impact Newspaper)
University of St. Thomas offering free tuition to first 500 students who apply

The online degrees are in the following fields: cybersecurity, network technology, electronic technology, general business, and alcohol and drug dependency counseling.

houston firefighters rally
Appeals court rules in favor Houston firefighters in collective bargaining case

The 14th Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the fire union in a case that originated when the city and the union failed to reach an agreement on a labor contract in 2017.

The Texas Department of State Health Services projects a significant shortage of nurses by 2032. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: Why Texas faces a growing nursing shortage and what can be done to address it

In 2018, the state health department estimated about 11% of the demand for nurses was not able to be met, and that number is expected to rise to 16.3% by 2032.

I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop will be closed May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)
TxDOT: I-69 Southwest Freeway at I-610 West Loop closed through weekend

From May 7 at 9 p.m. until May 10 at 5 a.m., the lanes will be closed.

Legacy Community Health is bringing COVID-19 vaccines to historically underserved communities across Beaumont and Houston. (Courtesy Pexels)
Legacy Community Health vaccine rollout targets underserved communities in Houston, Beaumont

The health network is partnering with other entities, including Beaumont Independent School District.

HTV
Houston, Harris County annual addresses no longer hosted by Greater Houston Partnership over Texas voter bill dispute

Local leaders criticized the area chamber of commerce for not taking a definitive stance on two voting access bills currently being deliberated in the Texas Legislature.

The new location is Chipotle's first in Magnolia. (Courtesy Chipotle Mexican Grill)
Chipotle opens in Magnolia; get a sneak peek of new Houston aquarium and more metro news

Read the latest business and community news from the Houston area.

Palace Social is opening in June with eight bowling lanes, a 159-seat restaurant and a 3,900-square-foot arcade, among other offerings. (Courtesy Blkbox)
Palace Social to open in June as high-end bowling, entertainment concept

The former location of Palace Bowling Lanes on Bellaire Boulevard is being given new life.

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member. (Courtesy Fire Smart, LLC)
Fire Smart, LLC celebrates one year of providing fire safety education across Greater Houston area

The business specializes in customized in-home consultations during which families will receive a fire safety plan specific to their house's floor plan and an age-appropriate, individualized plan for each family member.

Designs show the concept for the administration area of a new 32,000-square-foot campus being planned by Xavier Educational Academy. (Courtesy Xavier Educational Academy)
Xavier Educational Academy announces plans to combine campuses at 1 location near Arboretum

The private school currently operates at three campuses in West University, The Woodlands and Memorial. The new 32,000-square-foot campus will quadruple the available space.

3707 Sun Valley Drive, Houston: A recent construction, this home features a clean aesthetic with modern lines located in central Houston near the Texas Medical Center. Features a chef’s kitchen with an oversized island, luxury-brand appliances, a butler’s pantry, and a walk-in pantry. The kitchen adjoins the family room, which offers views to a roofed patio and a lawn beyond that. The home additionally features a primary suite with a spa-like bath and an oversized closet. 4 bed, 4 full and 1 half bath/4,101 sq. ft. Sold for $827,001-$947,000 on April 29. (Courtesy Houston Association of Realtors)
Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place real estate: See some of the properties that sold in April 2021

Homes that sold in April in the Bellaire-Meyerland-West University Place area included ranch-style, contemporary and updated homes.