Ogden poll locations change from schools to churches for security issues

| June 3, 2013

OGDEN — Ogden city officials say concerns about safety and security are a major driver in moving polling locations away from local schools and into local churches.

This year’s primary election will be held Aug. 13, while the general election will be Nov. 5.

Earlier this week, the Ogden City Council approved 13 polling sites at various locations around the city for the two elections.

Of the 13 voting sites, only two are in local public schools — buildings that have traditionally been heavily used during election season.

More than half of the voting sites are in Ogden area churches.

Ogden City Recorder Tracy Hansen said that trend will likely continue in coming years, as using schools for polling places is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Hansen said recent events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., have heightened concern about school safety and changed protocol in regard to how people enter schools.

“Voters can freely walk the halls of schools unsupervised, and they don’t have to follow the formal visitor check-in policy,” Hansen said. “And that is very concerning to everyone.”

Hansen also mentioned the 911 gunman hoax that took place Tuesday at North Davis Junior High School among the growing number of incidents that have tightened security at schools.

“Even right here in our area, our schools aren’t as safe as we’d like them to be,” she said.

Hansen also said parking at schools is limited and heavy congestion at the beginning and ending of the school day poses additional safety risks.

“Those limitations make most school sites poor polling locations,” Hansen said.

 

http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/05/31/ogden-poll-locations-change-schools-churches-security-issues

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