Should City Use School Buildings for Elections?
Public hearing scheduled tonight to discuss consolidation of Woburn's polling places.
The question of polling places in Woburn will be up for debate tonight at a public hearing.
The Ad Hoc Polling Place Review Committee hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Joyce Middle School Auditorium.
The committee convened three months ago and has looked into moving the nine polling locations out of the public schools and into one place—the Joyce Middle School fieldhouse/gymnasium.
Now, the group is looking for input from the public on whether that proposal is feasible and acceptable.
The committee, according to city documents, raised concerns about students' safety during elections at the current polling places.
"The consensus of the Committee focused on what has long been lamented by local school officials—that while we as a community carefully secure our schools to ensure public safety we risk that safety when we open those schools to the general public during elections," said the committee in a written statement.
The group has also discussed whether consolidating the polling places would work to "maintain election integrity, operational efficiency [and] cost savings."
With research completed on several options, the group voted to put forth the Joyce Middle School fieldhouse/gymnasium as a centralized polling place.
"The Joyce gymnasium consists of ample space for all wards and precincts (25,000 square feet), is handicap accessible, [and] provides more than enough parking," said the committee in its statement. "Security is considered ideal because the gymnasium is separated from the school building, and further protected by 24-hour keypad lock at the one connecting passageway."
The Joyce gymnasium will be open to public inspection from 6 to 6:30 p.m. tonight prior to the public hearing. All city documents pertaining to the subject can be found on the Woburn website.
Tell us what you think: Do you think voters should continue to vote in the public schools? Should there be one polling place for each election? Give your opinion in the comments below!