Bivins bill bans voting in schools

Dixon senator says he wants to increase protection of children

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
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Tim Bivins

DIXON – A local lawmaker is proposing another way to increase safety at schools: Keep out voters.

This week, Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, and Rep. Jack Franks, D-Woodstock, sponsored a bill to protect students by removing polling places from public and private schools.

Bivins said he was concerned about mixing voters, possibly sex offenders, with children.

“Anytime you open doors on what should be a secure facility, you’re at risk,” Bivins said. “We have an obligation to do everything we can to protect kids in schools.”

The legislation wouldn’t affect Whiteside and Lee counties, which no longer have any polling places in schools. The November election was believed to be the first for Whiteside County in which no schools hosted polling sites, County Clerk Dana Nelson said.

“Most schools don’t want to have polls because of security,” Nelson said. “You have to buzz in to get in.”

Bivins said he checked into what the effects would be.

“A lot of counties abandoned using schools years ago. This bill is more geared to those that have been slower to do so,” he said.

Bivins has already introduced a number of bills that he said would promote school safety. They call for forming a task force to study school security conditions and draft minimum standards; requiring school districts to consult with law enforcement and security experts in designing new school buildings; and mandating the state Board of Education create a grant program to help districts with security improvements.

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