Election Day could spell disaster for schools

Published 03/05 2013 06:04PM

Updated 03/06 2013 11:51AM

SPRINGFIELD -- The push for school safety could change how we vote. State lawmakers are looking at a bill to ban voting on school property. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger finds out how and why things may change.

"It's an unnecessary risk we no longer need to take."

Not many would associate the word "risk" with voting. But, it's a connection some state leaders are making after the tragic incident at Sandy Hook Elementary.

"We used these as community centers for a long time and it's unfortunate that we have to change the way we operate."

"On most days, schools are mostly locked down. Only people with official business can get in. But, the problem state lawmakers have is, that on Election Day, pretty much anyone can get in."

"On Election Day, nothing's locked up. It's just open. You know we have good, solid citizens who are doing their duty and voting, but that doesn't mean someone with less-than-honorable intentions could not just calmly walk through the door and cause some real trouble."

So, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has an idea; stop using schools as precincts altogether. Moving voting to other public buildings, like police stations, fire houses or post offices is an idea getting some support.

"We can't wait for evil to strike before we begin to address the issue of who should be allowed in our schools."

Some county clerks don't like the idea because they say it would be tough to find other areas able to accommodate voters. If the bill passes, Topinka hopes to see changes by next year's primary.

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