It it time to end schools as polling locations?

March 15, 2013 

As we approach the 2013 election season, which appears to be a long one even though no one can say when voters will head to the polls, there is a move in various parts of the country to move polling places out of schools due to safety concerns.

While the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary inspired the latest wave of districts declining to be polling locations, some have been using other locations for a decade or more.

According to USA Today, schools in New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa and other districts have asked election officials to find other places for polling. Some areas that use schools have extra security.

Though no plans have yet been revealed for Middle Georgia schools to become off limits to voters, it might not be a bad idea to start considering. In Houston County 14 of its 23 polling places are in schools. In Bibb County, 14 of the county’s 40 polling places are located in schools. Bibb also has 18 polling places located in churches.

What’s the big deal? Aren’t polling places easy to locate? Think again. Polling locations need to be handicap accessible and have plenty of parking. Schools fit that bill. Johnson County Kan. Election Commissioner Brian Newby, told USA Today, that aside for paying for security at polling places that “It’s harder to get polling places than election workers, and it’s hard to get election workers.”

Locally, there are a plethora of churches that could open up their doors for voters. When that time comes, we will see if they do.

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