In a 7-0 vote, school board members unanimously agreed to add three additional polling places for the school budget/election held annually in May. Previously, taxpayers could only cast their votes at Weber Middle School.
The new polling places divide the town up into quadrants. Those residents in the southern part of town will be voting at South Salem Elementary School. The central area voters will still be at Weber Middle School on Campus Drive. In the northern part of town, the two schools being used will be Sousa and Daly.
The quadrants will most likely be drawn based on the same lines as the general election (November) districts.
In the initial discussions, board members had considered sites other than school buildings (i.e. Manorhaven Village Hall). However. school district counsel John Miller advised the board that the law prefers voting to take place in schoolhouses if possible.
Board members expressed concern over traffic. Board member Nancy Cowles advised that she had already spoken to some building officials who said that for that day, the teachers would park on the streets rather than in the parking lot.
The traffic at the Sousa School could be a real problem; however, the Port Washington Police Department has already agreed to help out that day.
It was also noted that spreading around the increased traffic created by the voters would ameliorate the traffic on Campus Drive during the vote.
Addressing the concern over the additional cost to taxpayers, board member Patrick Foye noted that given the $100 million-plus school budget, it was a small price to pay to ensure that no voter is disenfranchised.
The importance of notifying the voters of the change in their polling place was expressed by board member Jean-Marie Posner. "We need a very structured plan and it must be done right," she said. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Geoff Gordon agreed, saying he would like to see "individual notification."
All board members agreed that the increase in polling places will help make voting more accessible and convenient for Port taxpayers.
It's expected that the formal vote on the resolution will take place at the next BOE meeting on March 20, in order to have the changes in place for the May 2007 school district vote.