Saying the district is “greatly troubled” by the fact that schools are widely used as polling sites during elections, Richard Burns, the East Hampton School District superintendent, has sent a formal letter to the Suffolk County Board of Elections requesting it find other places for people to vote.
“This is not a new issue, but as mass shootings continue to plague our nation, school safety has gained significant political momentum in our community,” Mr. Burns wrote in the Sept. 5 letter. “Thus, it seems irrational to us and our constituents that we must put aside our security measures on election days when we believe there are alternative locations where voters could cast their ballots.”
“We have received no word from you, other than correspondence from your counsel, merely citing the statute” that allows but does not require the siting of polling places in schools, he wrote. He pointed out the law grants the Board of Elections “broad discretion” to use other public facilities for voting.
John M. Marshall Elementary School and East Hampton High School are used for voting on primary days and during general elections.
Mr. Burns acknowledged the need to find safe, accessible places for people to vote. “We stand ready to assist you to find such appropriate locations,” he said. He invited the Republican and Democratic election commissioners, Nick LaLota and Anita Katz respectively, to attend the next East Hampton School Board meeting on Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.
Officials at the board of elections could not be reached for comment.