BLOOMINGTON — West Bloomington voters will get a chance to register to vote close to home on Monday.
A Connect Transit bus will be at Walmart, 2225 W. Market St., from 1 to 3 p.m., and at Western Avenue Community Center, 600 N. Western Ave., from 4 to 6 p.m., to help voters register.
Adults eligible to vote will be able to fill out paperwork on the bus or take it home to return later.
"Have you moved recently? You can register to vote and, if needed, change your address and apply for a new voter registration card, all from the comfort of the (bus)," according to a flyer. "Our volunteers will also provide handouts with additional election information."
Volunteers can help people register whether they vote through the Bloomington Election Commission or McLean County Clerk's office. The BEC manages elections in the city of Bloomington, and the clerk's office runs them elsewhere in the county, including Normal.
County Clerk Kathy Michael is coordinating the effort, a partnership between her office, Connect Transit, BEC, League of Women Voters McLean County, LIFE Center for Independent Living — also known as LIFE-CIL — and Marcfirst. Those agencies are providing volunteers to staff the bus.
“It’s all volunteer. We're not spending any taxpayer dollars,” Michael said.
Connect Transit hoped to hold the event on its new community bus, but that's not ready yet, said Marketing Manager Jeff Holtke, so the event will be on a regular fixed-route bus.
Connect Transit has spent the last few months outfitting the community bus, a retired 40-foot fixed-route vehicle that now has a conference table, television and display board in place of many seats.
The system planned to spend less than $1,000 to retrofit the bus, which officials including General Manager Isaac Thorne envision as similar to Bloomington Public Library's Bookmobile, but with a broader focus that could include a food market and medical screenings.
Michael said she hopes to make the bus a regular feature of voter registration in 2018. A primary election is set for March 20, and general on Nov. 6.
“We’re looking to go to other spots in January, but they haven’t been determined yet,” she said. "We really encourage public input about where folks think there is a need for this.”
Connect Transit also plans to offer free bus rides on its regular routes on Election Day, both for the March 20 primary and the Nov. 6 general election.