Election Day Security: How Schools Can Beef Up Safety Measures

Posted by on November 1, 2010

Increased traffic, strangers in schools, and hectic daily school schedules come together on Election Days. How can your schools be better prepared?

Many schools have gone to “professional development” days where only teachers and staff are present at schools on days when voting is going on in schools.  A number of schools around the country have removed polling places from schools all together.  But many schools still move forward with regular school activities while voters continue to use their schools as polling places.

I find it ironic that throughout the year, school leaders spent an enormous amount of energy securing school doors, supervising hallways, spending money on security equipment, and working through ways to keep strangers out of their schools.  Then, on a couple days each year, they open their doors to anyone and everyone who wants to walk in who may (or may not) be a legitimate voter.

Removing polling places from schools is a huge political issue.  Nobody wants to offend grandma and grandpa who have been voting at the same school for decades.  This is especially true when schools are looking to grandma and grandpa to approve tax increases to better fund these same schools.  So many educators bite their tongues and hold back their true thoughts that they would prefer not to have polling in their schools at all.

It is also a logistical issue.  Where would election officials relocate voters to if they took them out of schools?  It is easier not to “go there” than it is to try to figure it out and make the changes, many elections officials say privately.

So for those schools in session while voting is taking place, I have put together a detailed page for Reducing School Security Risks for Election Day Voting.  Check it out.  If you can’t have polling removed from your school, you can at least reduce the safety risks associated with its presence.

What do your schools do to improve security on Election Day?

Ken Trump

Visit School Security Blog at:  http://www.schoolsecurityblog.com

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