Around 30,000 voters in Sarpy County have received notice that their voting place will change ahead of the May 15 primary election. Working with local businesses and faith-based organizations over the past several months, Sarpy County Election Commissioner Michelle Andahl says her office has relocated all polling sites out of kindergarten through 12th grade schools.
“School districts in Sarpy County have always been accommodating and gracious about hosting polling sites inside of schools,” said Andahl. “However, it also posed challenges for schools and law enforcement as they worked to balance security protocols with providing public access without impediment on Election Day.”
Andahl said she started connecting with community members and voters soon after entering office, to identify ways in which the election office could better serve Sarpy County citizens. One common theme that arose in those discussions was that of moving polling sites out of schools.
“The partnerships we forged during this process were critical to completing this goal. Through generous commitments by many organizations, those polling sites have now been moved to churches, hospitals, community centers and retail developments.”
Andahl added, “It is a huge challenge for county election officials to identify polling places that meet all requirements for accommodating voters on Election Day. Schools are often the only viable option. It will take ongoing community cooperation to keep polling sites out of Sarpy County schools going in the future.”
Yellow postcards have been mailed to affected voters, letting them know the address of their new polling site. In addition, they will soon receive an application, which they can complete, to receive an early ballot by mail.
“I want to thank the voters of Sarpy County. I know that change is not always easy and a new location may not be as convenient to voters, when compared to their previous one. However, moving polling places out of K-12 schools was an important task, not just for my office, but also for those who felt this was a positive step for the community.”