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Voting Likely to End in School District Buildings

The decision comes as Port Washington-Saukville School Board members continue discussions on ways to make the district safer since the tragic Newtown, CT school shooting thrust the topic into the limelight.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a clarification.

Believing that voting in the schools is no longer an educational opportunity and focusing on making Port Washington and Saukville a safer place for kids, school officials are moving forward with putting an end to voting in the district's buildings. 

School Board members spoke highly in favor of ending voting in schools during a late January meeting, and a district committee has now recommended it be discontinued for "security reasons," according to an Ozaukee Press article. The discussion of improving safety procedures in the district has been ongoing tragedy shook an elementary school in Newtown, CT, in December.

"For me, this (decision) is really easy," board member Sarah McCutcheon said of disallowing voting to take place in the schools during the January meeting. "I think there's another way that we can teach our kids about voting besides opening our doors and having (such public interaction) … I have absolutely no [reservations] about saying the time has come for us to find (a new place)."

The decision was made at a committee level, and will need a formal vote from the School Board. However, all board members were present at the committee meeting and spoke strongly in favor of the end of voting in schools, Superintendent Michael Weber said. Weber has since spoken to Grams, who asked for some time to find a new location, which is why the city won't need a spot until next year.

Weber will relay this to the committee, and it will likely see a formal vote in March, though Weber did say it is a "logical" assumption that the idea will be approved.

Two buildings in the Port Washington-Saukville School District — Dunwiddie Elementary and Thomas Jefferson Middle School — are used as polling locations during elections in Port Washington. The buildings will be used during Tuesday's primary election, the Ozaukee Press article said, and also during the April election as students will be on spring break. With no fall elections, the city has about a year to find new locations.

City Administrator Mark Grams said he has been with the city for nearly 27 years, and voting has always taken place in those school buildings; to change the location, a spot within the voting districts would need to be found.

"It's something we'd have to seriously look at to see if there's anything" inside the district with enough parking, he said.

Is the end of voting in schools a good thing?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Jaime Sommers February 15, 2013 at 06:50 AM
There are children in the library at TJMS during voting. Some people work second or third shift and vote during the day. This decision is congruent with current policy and makes sense with policy, regardless of Newtown. Midday voting in Saukville is barren compared to Port. TJMS has voting lines midday. Why take a chance with our kids? Why not use municipal court or District office? Just some thoughts.
Greg February 15, 2013 at 07:42 PM
MDS, That is subjective logic. I could easily argue that people have other things to do on Saturdays, such as helping people move. What day are you more likely to be out of town, Tuesday or Saturday? I personally like to vote before or after work, rather than having it screw-up my Saturday. The "having an event" logic seems to support the conclusion that people have other things to do on Saturdays, providing an excellent argument why voting should not be moved to this already busy day. Correct?
Terry February 18, 2013 at 10:17 AM
LOL... Nice MDS. Since we are talking schools, here is a definition for you. In Internet slang, a troll (pron.: /ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response. Nice part about trolling here, is you usually get a bite....
Robert B. February 19, 2013 at 04:52 PM
You've got a point but really, what's the difference? Even though there's probably never been an incident there's no harm in moving it to an empty legion hall or something. Voting in schools never should have been the norm to begin with.
Scott Ziegler February 19, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Well my wife and I voted mid-day today and there were so many dangerous people there! Lets see my wife, our two children and I made 2 voters, 2 grade schoolers and 8 pole workers. Yep good reason to end voting in schools. Oh and guess what! There were no school kids there, other than ours, because voting day was on a OFF day for school. Hum..Imagine that....an out of the box solution. Move the off days on the school calendar to voting days...Wonder where I have heard that before?

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