Senator Holzapfel Says Emphasis is on Student Safety
Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Holzapfel and approved by the Senate today would help ensure safety at schools that are used as polling locations across the state.
Legislation sponsored by Sen. Jim Holzapfel and approved by the Senate would help ensure safety at schools that are used as polling locations across the state. (SenateNJ.com)
Under current law enacted last year, police officers are prohibited from polling places unless there is an emergency. The measure advanced today, S-2912, would allow police officers, when requested by school officials, to be present during voting at public schools.
“There is a concerted emphasis on safety at our schools every day of the school year, but on election days, security yields to democracy,” said Holzapfel (R-10), a co-sponsor of the bill. “The doors are open and members of the public can freely walk in and out to vote. When school children are in the next room, or just down the hall, it makes sense to have law enforcement on site.”
Many elections in New Jersey, including primary elections, are conducted while school is in session. During the most recent primary election, schools throughout the state held virtual classes for the day.
“This only became an issue when the police were told they are no longer welcome at voting locations,” Holzapfel noted. “This bill will alleviate safety concerns at schools, and also senior residential centers that ask for help.”
The bill specifies that an officer assigned to school polling place is there to maintain order and provide security during the election, and they are prohibited from interfering with any individual present at the location for the purpose of voting.