Elections Director Laura Bruns said the schools have legitimate concerns, adding in Mercer County, where she used to work in elections, residents asked that elections not be held in the schools. “We need to get their feedback,” she said of the Miami County districts.
“We are going to give them two years’ notice. I am telling them we need to do it,” Fisher said.
He has been getting complaints from voters about the changes in precincts voting locations, some repeatedly in the past few years. Other complaints include voters having to drive a distance to vote, he said. Schools, particularly in rural areas, often are centrally located in the district, Fisher said.
Board member Jim Oda said schools close for teacher inservice days and other purposes, possibly offering the opportunity to coordinate those days with Election Day.
High school seniors interested in working an election also could be utilized, said board member Audrey Gillespie.
“We need to inquire with the schools to see if they are in favor or not and find out reasons why,” board member Robert Long Jr. said.
Bruns and Ian Ridgeway, deputy elections director, said elections staff has had to find new polling places as some private building owners have decided not to allow use of their buildings for voting. One Troy company’s decision to end voting at its property led staff this year to move five precincts to two locations further away from some voters.
Some school buildings cannot provide the handicapped accessibility needed for a polling place, Bruns added.
Fisher said he’d like election representatives to discuss the possible use of school buildings with superintendents during one of the countywide superintendent meetings.
“We need to start using our school buildings again, like we did a few years ago,” Fisher said. “I think it would be good PR (public relations) for school districts.”
Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper said the school board has not discussed use of school buildings for voting. “We would be open to that discussion once COVID restrictions are lifted,” Piper said.
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