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Schools Being Phased Out As Polling Places

Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:30:17 CDT
By: IPR's Hannah Meisel

Election officials are turning away from using schools as polling places, but a proposal awaiting action by the governor is intended to reverse that trend. The legislation would "encourage" schools to close on election days, or at least hold teacher training. It's meant to protect students from potential predators, while also preserving accessible voting locations. Cook County Clerk David Orr says while other counties have given up on schools as polling places, that's not a viable option for Cook:

"When you get into Cook County suburbs, Chicago, and still many other counties, you could not hold elections without using schools. It simply doesn't work."

Supporters say a school is the most recognizable building in a community, and moving polling places elsewhere could effectively disenfranchize voters. Critics say giving such a half-hearted mandate to schools is bad governance.

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