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Tosa looking for voting sites outside school buildings

Jan. 30, 2012

Voters who have cast ballots at the Fisher Building will find themselves at a new polling place starting with the Feb. 21 primary election. The change may just be the start of a larger citywide effort to move voting activities out of Wauwatosa School District buildings.

Because polling places operate during the school day, there's ongoing concern about the students' safety on Election Day. In 2012, elections will be held on four days in 2012, possibly a fifth if a separate recall election is required for Gov. Scott Walker.

"On any other days of the year, the buildings aren't open to the public to wander in and out," City Clerk Carla Ledesma said. "It's a safety issue, and the superintendent (Phil Ertl) has asked me to work on alternative locations."

The move from the Fisher Building, which serves as the district's administration building, became a more immediate necessity largely due to dwindling space. An alternative high school and a Montessori school for younger children now occupy portions of the building.

Voters in the city's 20th Ward will now report to a conference room in the city's Public Works building, 11100 W. Walnut Road, to cast their ballot.

That still leaves 11 school district buildings that accommodate 19 of the city's 24 voting wards.

City buildings such as fire stations and the library are being considered for future polling sites, possibly still for 2012. However, some areas of the city lack good alternatives, Ledesma said.

"Polling places must be established at least 30 days prior to the spring elections, and at least 60 days prior to the partisan primary and general election," the clerk said.

The Civic Center in City Hall and Muellner Building at Hart Park are already used for voting, as is the Currie Park Clubhouse, a Milwaukee County building.

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