Security Magazine

Schools to Stop Serving as Polling Stations Citing Security Concerns

January 5, 2014

Some schools want to end their traditional role as polling places because of security concerns.

For example, Glen Ridge School District, a community less than 20 miles from Manhattan, has closed its Linden Avenue and Forest Avenue Elementary Schools to balloting.

The district strengthened access control last year after administrators, police and an outside security consultant conducted a review in the wake of the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the locked doors also were closed to voters, said Fox News.

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration plans to make recommendations this month to Barack Obama about ways to improve access to the polls, and hopes to encourage schools to stay open for voting, among many other suggestions, said Fox News.

"Schools are in many ways a perfect polling place because of accessibility concerns, they usually have adequate parking, they're large facilities, large rooms, they've historically been used as polling places, and they're ubiquitous," the commission's senior research director, Nathaniel Persily, told commissioners as he summarized months of research at their final public meeting Dec. 3. "The closing of schools poses a real problem for finding adequate facilities for polling places."

Doug Lewis, executive director of The Election Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the nation's election officials, encouraged Obama's commission to address the matter as part of its goal of reducing long lines, reported Fox News.

"Any consideration of forcing the election process to abandon schools as voting locations is likely to have one of the most dramatic impacts on the cost and conduct of elections in the U.S.," he said.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says there were at least 15 bills introduced in seven states regarding school safety on Election Day, although none was passed.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/04/schools-look-to-stop-serving-as-polling-stations-citing-security-concerns/