RCAS narrowly votes to keep polling stations at schools

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The debate over Rapid City schools being used as polling places continued in front of the school board.

Rapid City Area School board narrowly votes their approval for schools to stay as polling locations (KOTA TV)

"The Rapid City Area Board of Education supports leaving the polling places in the schools and open the schools as much as possible to the people that own them,"

That's the statement voted on by the district and passed by a 4-3 roll call vote. The vote won't have any binding impact on whether polling places stay or change; that decision still sits with County Auditor Cindy Mohler.

Discussions earlier this year between Mohler, School Board President Dr. Lori Simon, and Police Chief Karl Jegeris led to a possible switch of the seven schools in the district used as polling places to other locations over concern for student safety.

The board discussed the issue at length and centering around the issue of safety in schools while also promoting democracy to those who are not old enough to vote.

"If something happened down the road in a school on an election day that even as so much put the children in danger of that school and I had the opportunity to do something to change that. Could I live with myself, and for me, the answer is no," says Brian Johnson, School Board member.

"We also have the responsibility to promote democracy and make it open. Our schools used as polling places is wonderful to teach our kids about democracy it is accessible. It is where everybody knows to vote," says Christine Stephenson, School Board member.

The board read a written statement from Mohler saying she's found five new polling places for the seve affected schools but names of those possible new locations were not given.