East Hampton School District pushes for relocation of voting polls for safety

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East Hampton School District officials are pushing to move polling locations away from school buildings. 

The district sent a letter to the Suffolk Board of Elections earlier this month to ask that other community locations be considered for voters to cast their ballots. 

The district says its main concern stems from the uptick in mass shootings across the country. Officials say they've spent millions of dollars in recent years to upgrade security and that opening the doors to the general public on Election Day would erase this progress.

"We live in a completely different world now," says Superintendent Richard Burns. "I will never take the stance that it can't happen in East Hampton."

Board of Election Commissioner Nick LaLota says he is working with his staff to take the request into consideration. He says about two dozen other polling places have been moved out of schools over the last five years due to similar safety concerns.  

The commissioner says it's not an easy change to make.  "If we're going to take voting out of a school, that has a big parking lot, that has a big room to host our big clunky machines, and has adequate handicapped accessibilities, we have to find a suitable replacement," LaLota says.

The Board of Elections says that other districts may ask for relocations of polling places and that each request will be considered individually.

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