Peoria Public Radio Staff
Fri July 18, 2014
Schools may close on election day
Schools are often at the heart of a community metaphorically, if not literally. That's part of the reason they've long been voting sites. But with shootings at schools across the country, some lawmakers are concerned the practice is dangerous.
Most of the time visitors need to sign in before entering a school; they say allowing anyone in on election day is asking for trouble. One idea was to ban schools as polling places.
But election officials, like the Cook County Clerk, argued that's not viable, they need all of that space.Instead, legislators passed a measure that encourages schools to either close or to hold a teachers' institute on election day, so students aren't around.
The plan passed the Senate without objection, but it had sizable opposition in the House. Critics say kids ought to see the good example of adults exercising their right to vote.
Registered sex offenders are not allowed lots of places, including schools. Illinois law provides that a sex offender whose assigned polling place is a school can vote absentee, or early.