Schools as Polling Places

So in the state of Missouri the Missouri Association of School Librarians or MASL has children’s book award nominees, the kids read books from the list and if they read at least four they can vote on the book that should receive the award.  Our school librarian has a list of kids that earned the right to vote on the library doors, part of that list are clip art pictures that say Vote!  While talking with another teacher today she noticed the clip art and mentioned that she doesn’t agree with schools being polling places.  I’d never thought about it before but she made some valid points.

Teachers and other school staff are required to be fingerprinted and go through a background check before they are allowed to work in a school.  Some schools/districts require some level of background check for volunteers as well and yet on an election day anyone with the right to vote can walk through the school doors.  This includes people who have been convicted of various crimes, the particular concern of the teacher I spoke with was that registered sex offenders specifically pedophiles would be walking through the doors.

Now most of the schools I know close on election day, districts seems to build that into their calendars these days.  I know during the last presidential election the district I work in was closed, I vote at a school in the district and considering the number of people in line to vote it was a good thing.  On other election days however I don’t know.  The school I vote at is a middle school, my parents however do go to an elementary school to vote and it looks like school will be in session on the next election day.

I wonder how this works as so many schools, mine included, require people to buzz in and sign in at the office.  Will those schools that are polling places require every voter to be buzzed in?  Will every voter have to sign in at the office?  Will there be a separate entrance used as at the middle school where I vote?  Will the voting area be closed off from the rest of the school?  Just a few questions to think about.

I’m not sure if this is something that has been considered by districts, cities, counties, or states.  I think it may be time to do some more research to see if I can find an answer.




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