Schools Losing Interest In Serving As Polling Stations

Many districts cite the Sandy Hook tragedy as the cause of security concerns

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Dozens of schools no longer want to act as polling stations due to safety concerns in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings, reports the Associated Press.

A presidential commission has spent several months researching how to improve the voting process, and is likely to suggest ways to increase access to polls in order to prevent the long lines voters across the country faced in 2012.

But as the members of the commission’s panel consider how to improve the election process, as many as three dozen schools have begun opting out of hosting ballot boxes within their halls. Shootings such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. have parents and administrators rethinking the wisdom of opening school doors to all-comers.

“After the Newtown tragedy, as you can imagine, we had many, many, many parents who were concerned about security on Election Day,” Elisabeth Ginsburg, president of the Glen Ridge Public Schools Board of Education, told the Associated Press.

The elections director in Greenville County South Carolina, where eight schools stopped serving as polling places, told the AP that schools began insisting that voters go through security when they entered buildings. “That would be impossible for voters coming in to pass ballots,” Conway Belangia said.

Members of the Presidential Election Commission say schools are among the most accessible places for polling. “The closing of schools poses a real problem for finding adequate facilities for polling places,” said the commission’s senior research director, Nathaniel Persily, at the December meeting.

The commission’s recommendations will be published in January.

[Associated Press]