Plan would move polls from high school in Ellington - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Plan would move polls from high school in Ellington


The superintendent of schools in Ellington was concerned about safety long before the Newtown shooting and wants to make changes.

Just last week, he made it very public that he wanted to end the tradition of Election Day voting at the Ellington High School.

Stephen Cullinan's plans to make schools safer are a lot broader than just ending voting at the high school, but he said that's a good start.

"It (voting) is a tradition," said Taddy Powell of Ellington. "And it's been there ever since I've been here and I've lived here all my life."

However, Cullinan wants to end that tradition.

"We do have locked doors. There's a buzz-in system with security cameras. But, on those election days, the system is turned off. The doors are wide open," he said. "It allows the citizens to vote, but it also allows any citizen to walk into that building. I'm most uncomfortable with that."

Cullinan said he raised his concerns about voting at the high school to the board of selectmen long before the Newtown tragedy could put an exclamation point on his views.

"They have taken my request seriously," he said. "I think they are looking to solve the issue."

Adam Lanza had two pistols and a military-style rifle when he entered Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning and in just a matter of minutes, he fired multiple rounds killing 20 children and six adults. Before the shooting at the school, he shot his mother four times in the head and eventually, turned the weapon on himself.

The idea of ending voting at the high school did not seem popular with people we met.

"It's just big, there's no other big place in town,  fair enough," said John Desrocher of Ellington. "So I'm all for the high school."

"I don't have a problem having it in the high school," Powell said. "I believe that there's an SRO (school resource officer) in the school."

According to last year's student handbook, it does not appear there is a full-time school resource officer, but rather, regular, unannounced state police patrols.

Cullinan said one idea about where to hold voting that is being floated is holding it at some churches in town with large enough parking lots to handle an influx of voters.

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