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.

Tom Kamenick February 14, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Was it a unanimous vote?
Tom Kamenick February 14, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Nothing but reactionary nonsense. As I noted before, there is no evidence out there of violent or other incidents in schools during voting, despite it being a common practice around the country. Is it really too much to ask our elected officials to make decisions based on facts and not irrational fears?
Tom Kamenick February 14, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Or rather, who made the ultimate decision? It's not clear from the article.
Greg February 14, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Tom, I agree. Emotion trumped facts.
Joanne February 14, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Joyce February 14, 2013 at 02:12 PM
Make voting days an in-service day for staff and give the kids the day off. Problem solved.
Terry February 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM
But... But... If we don't have the elections at the schools it will be too hard for the teachers to get the kids to vote. Voter fraud needs to be taught early if we want to turn this state back into a model of progressive liberalism.
MDS February 14, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Terry - Voter fraud happens about as often as violence does at the polls. Find some real problems and issues to worry about...
MDS February 14, 2013 at 03:35 PM
If elections were held on Saturday (when most people aren't working and kids are not in school) this would not be an issue. But that would only encourage more people to vote, so we know that won't happen.
Greg February 14, 2013 at 04:22 PM
I would like to see how you came to your conclusion that Saturday voting would encourage more people to vote.
Tom Kamenick February 14, 2013 at 04:33 PM
My first thought was "but that would require government employees to work on weekends, so we know that won't happen".
Greg February 14, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Voter fraud - happens. School shootings - happen. Students being shot at a school during polling - Never happens. I think that the lack of real problems and issues is at the root of this decision. There is no connection to voting locations in the Newtown shooting case. Was that school even used as a polling place? The shooter was not part of a larger group, nor did he use the general public, voting or not, as any type of cover to gain access to the school. Common sense would provide that schools are safer with more adults in them, but this decision was not based on common sense.
Scott Ziegler February 14, 2013 at 07:24 PM
Well I am glad they got to the bottom of that pressing issue...Note sarcasm...I guess when I do get to vote..Somewhere now that my polling place is gone I will be voting for anyone one but the goofs that voted for this solution in search of a problem.
Scott Ziegler February 14, 2013 at 07:26 PM
I guess they have to ban public access to football and basketball games and no more parent teacher conferences either. Dumb Dumb Dumb
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 07:44 PM
Tom, I just got off the phone with the Superintendent to clarify the process. 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. Michael Weber has since spoken to Grams, who asked for some time (hence the year timeline) ... Weber will relay this to the committee, and it will likely see a formal vote in March.
Amitiel February 14, 2013 at 08:37 PM
This is good. I don't think the public should be IN our school buildings during the day at any time. The red tape you have to go through on any other day to gain access to your child during a school day should be enough to determine that this is a good decision not to allow the public inside a school on a regular school day without even normal security measures. It IS a pressing issue. The only thing disappointing here is that the district is reactionary and not pro-active in the majority of situations and issues. And some reactions are denial. This one was the right decision. I didn't like it since 2003 when I first noticed public voting inside a middle school. It's not appropriate to let the public in to our children's school, ever, regardless of the fact that no kid is likely to get shot. Being a voter doesn't make one NOT a pedofile or NOT an offender of any other sort. There is no security check to vote in the school. It doesn't compare to football games. That's a choice. School is not. Stop being petty with this. They made a tough decision and it's the right one, and it should have been made long ago if it was noticed that it was a direct violation of our kids' safety as outlined by the district, all along.
Tom Kamenick February 14, 2013 at 08:42 PM
But the red tape you have to go through to get in to see your child is also reactionary nonsense based on emotion instead of sense, so it's not an answer to point to how hard that is to do and say that justifies taking out voting.
Scott Ziegler February 14, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Thanks for comparing the voting public to pedophiles and criminals we appreciate your support and non-stereotypical attitude.. The only way to ensure the absolute safety is to make the schools prison like. This is a foolish emotional reaction. There are ways to enhance the security and still use the PUBLIC Schools for PUBLIC events such as voting. The PWSS Schools are off at least one if not more days per month even not counting Christmas and Easter time. Why not move some of those to voting days? It's not like they don't know when they are! How is my opposition to a poorly thought out and emotional reaction petty? They took the easy way out, the tough decision would have been to keep it as it is. And yes I do have kids in PWSS schools with the evil voters. My guess is you have not voted much. I have been voting in schools in different communities for nearly 30 years and I have never seen a child in that school near the voters, ever. The only children I have seen have been with parents voting. If you vote you will notice that the majority of voters show up before and after school. I have voted in the mid-day and there are very few voters showing up. As I said before as a voter the school board will be noticing my vote for someone with common scenes.
Greg February 14, 2013 at 10:11 PM
I guess the next (un)logical step would be to keep out the teachers and the police. http://caledonia.patch.com/articles/horlick-high-school-gym-teacher-charged-with-child-enticement I have not heard of these type of things going on on election days. If you like overreaction please be consistent.
MDS February 15, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Greg - Well, if you were having an event, and wanted as many people to attend as possible, would you hold it on a Tuesday or a Saturday? For example, if I was moving and wanted all my friends to help, I'd move on a Saturday. Tom - Public employees (police, fire, park rangers, prison guards, snow plowers, air traffic control, Badger football coaching staff, etc, etc), already work on Saturdays. Plus, maybe we wouldn't have to staff our elections with 80 year olds if we held it on Saturdays.
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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