Local, Politics

School Safety Concerns Starting To Change Metro Atlanta Voting Locations

Security around school entrances has increased in recent years due to school shootings. Janine Eveler, Cobb County's elections director, said the added layer of security sometimes complicates an efficient Election Day.
Security around school entrances has increased in recent years due to school shootings. Janine Eveler, Cobb County's elections director, said the added layer of security sometimes complicates an efficient Election Day.
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Concerns about school safety are starting to lead to changes in where people vote in metro Atlanta.

Cobb County is considering taking polling locations out of schools.

Security around school entrances has increased in recent years due to school shootings. At some schools, visitors have to buzz in.

Janine Eveler, Cobb County’s elections director, said the added layer of security sometimes complicates an efficient Election Day.

“Those things don’t work well for providing access to voters,” Eveler said. “So, we’re at odds about providing access. We want to provide as much access, and they want to restrict access.”

Sixty-three of Cobb’s 141 polling locations are in schools. Eveler said she understands the school concerns.

“In this last election in May, the school district requested a deputy to be at each of the schools,” she said. “We committed to try to do that, but the sheriff’s office didn’t have enough personnel for that.”

That left school resource officers as the lone security officer at some locations.

Eveler said she asked the county for money to hire full-time workers to search for other venues. She said government buildings top the list, but they aren’t always in convenient places.

Right now, 19 of the county’s locations are in city or county buildings.

Two Fulton County elementary schools have already asked election officials to stop using their facilities for voting.

“We try to accommodate it,” said Richard Barron, Fulton County’s elections director. “It’s just going to get to a point where there are areas in the county where we have no options, and we can’t keep consolidating locations.”

Barron said they would turn to churches or other private venues if necessary.

In Rockdale County, 10 school polling locations were moved to other places this year.