HARRISBURG (December 11) – State Sen. Lisa M. Boscola wants to teach school districts a civics lesson: voting and democracy should “come alive” in schools, not just be taught in history books. 

When the Easton Area School District sued Northampton County to prevent the use of three elementary schools as polling places, Boscola felt it sent the wrong message to the future voters who fill those grade-school classrooms. 

“School buildings are public places, funded with taxpayer dollars,” Boscola said. “They are designed and built to be accessible for everyone, and they are well-known landmarks in their communities. They should be open and available as polling places.”

Although EASD cited safety and traffic concerns, the judge sided with the county and ruled that the school district was required to host polling places in those schools. While the school district did comply for the November general election, school officials moved the voting machines out of Forks Elementary School building and into a garage.

That move prompted Boscola to insert an amendment into an Election Code bill today to stop the escalating war between school districts and county election officials over polling place locations. 

“This amendment is necessary to discourage schools from seeking a reprieve from their legal duty to serve as polling places,” Boscola said. “I don’t want to see another tax dollar wasted on legal fees, and I hope that schools will get the message after my amendment becomes law.”

Current state law requires that a school district must make its facilities available as polling places at the request of a county board of election. 

As adopted today, Boscola’s amendment strengthens that provision by prohibiting school districts from even requesting an exemption from this requirement. 

Boscola offered her proposal as an amendment to Senate Bill 317, which would make changes to the state’s Election Code. The Senate is expected to vote on the final version of the bill, including Boscola’s amendment, tomorrow. 

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