Derry sets its polling places through 2016
The Town Council gave its consent Tuesday to have the polling for all state, federal and municipal elections at Pinkerton Academy for Districts 1 and 3, Calvary Church for District 2, and the Gilbert H. Hood Middle School for District 4.
Town Administrator John Anderson said the town is trying to avoid using West Running Brook Middle School as a polling location.
"There is only one way in and out (at West Running Brook), and we were cited a couple of years ago by the Secretary of State's office for the inability to get people in and out," he said.
Recently, Anderson and town clerk Denise Neale approached Pinkerton Academy about using its gymnasium as a polling location for Districts 1 and 3 for all elections through at least 2016. Anderson said the school's board of trustees agreed to the plan.
"If we standardize the polling locations, Pinkerton Academy charges us nothing to use the gymnasium, and it clears the decks for us for the next four years of elections," Anderson told the council. "That way, we don't have people wandering around saying well, I voted here last time and then I voted here."
There is a minimal cost to holding the election at three polling locations, according to Anderson.
"We are using the same people, they are just spread out over three places," he said.
Town Councilor Joel Olbricht asked whether Pinkerton Academy is forced to close school on election days. The school has only closed during presidential elections, but Anderson said it is planning on early releases on election days from 2014 onward.
"Our intent during municipal elections is not to use the entire gymnasium, because the turnout is much smaller than presidential elections," said Anderson. "They could still do things in two-thirds of the gymnasium while we would use one-third."
Although the current agreement to use Pinkerton Academy only runs through 2016, Anderson said the goal is to hold elections at the same polling locations indefinitely.