CHERRY HILL Camden County election officials are moving polling places out of schools in Cherry Hill after a request from the school district, the township announced Friday.
The move is expected to result in less traffic and fewer safety concerns at schools, county officials said.
"We're making an effort to get out of as many schools as possible" in the county, said Robert J. Venuti, chairman of the Board of Elections. Venuti said that keeping voters separate from students is important, particularly at a time when school safety is an issue.
In Haddon Township, polling locations at two of the schools have been moved, Venuti said. In Gibbsboro, one polling location has been moved.
In Cherry Hill, polling locations have been moved out of 18 schools, where balloting was usually held in cafeterias. The sites will now be in fire stations and churches, among other locations, and residents will be notified by mail, Venuti said.
During primary and special elections, the school district typically still held classes. On General Election Day, though, the district had a training, or "in-service," day for teachers, resulting in students' having the day off.
Now, with the polling moves, classes will be held even on Election Day.
"The Cherry Hill Public Schools appreciate this change," Superintendent Maureen Reusche said in a written statement. "It now gives us the flexibility to schedule an in-service day at a time when it is most beneficial to those who participate, rather than always having it on Election Day in November."
The new polling locations will go into effect for the June 3 primary.
Venuti said the county will also try to change polling locations in other towns after the primary.
It may not be possible everywhere, he said, partly because county officials have to ensure that the locations are in the right voting districts, and that they are handicapped-accessible.
"It's not an easy thing," Venuti said.
In Burlington County, most polling places are expected to remain the same, an official said.
An official from the Gloucester County Board of Elections could not be reached.