District 102 mom Susan Ragaishis is lobbying administrators to either close the schools on Election Day or avoid using them as polling places. The board plans to address the issue at its April 11 meeting, after getting a recommendation from district officials.
Readers had a lot to say after I posted about Ragaishis’ efforts Thursday. Ragaishis herself posted a link to her petition to the Illinois Election Office and Board of Education that residents can sign if they’re interested in supporting the cause.
“When every other day of the year, the public is required to sign in at schools, why do we still allow schools to be used as public polling places?” she wrote in the petition. “I have been told that ‘it's the safest day of the year.’ I don't agree.”
Here’s a roundup of the comments the issue received, both on La Grange Patch and La Grange Patch Facebook. Join the conversation by adding your own thoughts.
Carla Albrecht: It makes sense! I don't know if I would give the kids the day off, but maybe move the polls somewhere else...
Stephanie Lynd: I agree with Carla. Move it to a VFW hall or the village hall.
Karen Westfall: I think it's a great idea. I have often worried about my children's safety
Thomas O'Dowd: Board of Elections gives schools very little money. Have polls in other locations like barber shops.
John Lieb: it is a mad house at barnsdale/forest road school during the elections. one day someone is going to get hurt. needs to be moved. plenty of vacent building around
Kyle Lovett: I think that it is a good idea. Less distractions for the kids and more safety plus I am sure a lot more VFW halls are empty during the day
Nancy Middendorf Gibbons: Why aren't elections held on the weekend?
Teri Kate: D105 has been closing for election day for years with the exception of a year or two. It is classified as teacher institute but I would prefer to have the 4 day weekend in October or February than a random Tuesday in April and November??
Edward Podlesak: I saw on t v the other night with Judy Barr Topinka a move is on to pass a bill making it against the law to use schools. The best idea while teaching I had my class disrupted by two people have an arguement over the election outside of my room. Also a voter entered the boys locker room.
Norman Rick: Move it out of the schools.
bserius: I have been saying this for the 20 years I have lived in La Grange,,,
On election day you have thousands of strangers traipsing into the schools , while on regular school days, parents need passes and to check in ,,,,
use one of the teacher institute days, or any number of days off transferred to election day,,,, or ,,,, use the village hall for the polling places instead of schools
Jill Daniels: Aren't there armed police officers on election day always present and entrances and areas exclusive for voters only?
Deb: Can't agree with you more bserius! I've said the same thing over and over again too. As a teacher, my Middle School is also used as a polling place. My friends and I just can't get over how people can just walk right in on election day. Any other day, visitors have to be buzzed in to get to Main Office. There, they must then sign in and wear a sticker to let everyone know that they are a visitor to our school. I realize that space is needed for election day, but there are so many more options out there. We need to keep our children safe as well as our educators. Schools should not be used as a polling place. Most communities have either a Village Hall or Community Center that could serve as a polling place at election time.
John H: I agree that grade schools should not be polling places, and would prefer that they be moved, versus closing the school for election day. Closing grade schools on election days poses another issue for working parents. While high schools are not covered in this article, I'm okay with polling places being there, as long as there are adequate security precautions.
Elizabeth: I believe we should replace schools as polling places rather than take valuable learning time away from our kids! Let's not also downplay the effect yet another day off for kids has on dual working families!
Susan Ragaishis: You can get more information and maybe even sign at at: https://www.change.org/petitions/illinois-election-office-and-board-of-education-stop-using-schools-as-polling-places-when-students-are-present
Erik Bloecks: they should have the polling places in bars. They may have better turn outs if they do.
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