Concerns about school security on Election Day

Carle Place School District Superintendent David Flatley is one of many Long Island school superintendents concerned about security when schools are used as polling places for primaries and general elections.

"There are other perfectly fine locations for polling," he said.

School administrators that have spent money on safety measures in the wake of mass shootings to control who enters their buildings are faced with no choice but to open doors to voters.

Carle Place just opened a new command center and security vestibule to enhance safety. The district also built a multipurpose room, with automatic locking doors, separate from the rest of the building.

But not all districts have space or funding to do this.  

New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District Superintendent Jennifer Morrison is working with the Nassau County Board of Elections to change the polling location to a place that won't compromise safety.

"I think it's ludicrous in this day and age that we open our doors to anyone coming in our building," she said.

But Suffolk County Elections Commissioner Nick LaLota said schools make the most sense. Anywhere else poses logistical challenges.

"There's not enough libraries, fire department buildings, ambulance district buildings that are large enough to accommodate our million voters without causing severe parking problems and hours of waits in line for people to vote," LaLota said.

No voting will take place at buildings in New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District on Election Day this year. But the Board of Elections could change that. Lawmakers have proposed legislation that would allow schools to opt out if they can't provide adequate security.

Many districts say closing school for Election Day isn't a viable option either especially when they are required to hold a minimum of 180 learning days between September and June.