Removing voting centers from schools a smart move

Published 8:15 am Thursday, December 31, 2015

Earlier this month, the City of Niles wisely joined a number of communities across the country in relocating its polling stations away from schools.

The city council voted unanimously Dec. 22 to no longer use Niles High School, Eastside Elementary and Westside Administration Building as voting centers on election days.

Although schools have historically served as polling places, recent school shootings have forced community leaders to rethink this practice.

On a typical school day, visitors can enter a building only after being buzzed in by office staff who are monitoring entrances through the use of an outdoor camera. Once inside, visitors must go through an additional safety check by identifying themselves and their intentions with front office staff.

These safety precautions are largely ignored on election days when doors are open to all voters, who can enter the campus unchecked and unsupervised.

While unlikely, it is not beyond reason to think that a person with ill intentions could enter the school under the guise of being a voter.

Relocating voting centers away from schools eliminates this threat completely.

The decision to relocate also keeps polling centers from creating a distraction or disruption for students during the school day.

The new locations, listed below, will serve as fine places to vote without putting our children at risk while they are at school:

• First Precinct — St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1340 Sycamore St.

• Second Precinct — St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1340 Sycamore St.

• Fourth Precinct — Niles Fraternal Order of Police Lodge, 531 N. State St.

(The Third Precinct will remain at the Niles Fire Station at 1345 E. Main.)

We applaud the city council and others who helped facilitate this change for doing what they can to keep our kids safe.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.