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School backs off their voting ban

Warrensburg High School students line up to board buses in front of the high school, where new handicapped parking will be established on election days. The Warrensburg School Board had recently banned hosting all elections except their own vote, but they backed off this week, and decided to cooperate with county Election authorities.

Warrensburg High School students line up to board buses in front of the high school, where new handicapped parking will be established on election days. The Warrensburg School Board had recently banned hosting all elections except their own vote, but they backed off this week, and decided to cooperate with county Election authorities. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Reversing an earlier decision, officials from Warrensburg Central School reached an agreement early this week with Warren County Board of Elections to allow the use the high school as the voting site for federal, state and local elections.

The Warrensburg Central School Board of Education had voted about two weeks ago to ban the use of school district buildings for all elections except for their own.

The new agreement is pending a vote by the full Board of Education, which is to meet at 7 po.m. Feb. 13.

About two weeks ago, the board voted to ban municipal elections because of concerns raised about the safety of students at the elementary school and access problems at the high school for people with disabilities.

The problems include curbing too high for easy wheelchair access, lack of nearby handicapped parking, and doors that are not easy to open.

Those issues were resolved this week after the county Elections Commissioners and school officials agreed to collaborate in painting parking spaces, use a curb ramp, erect temporary directional signs and change a tension setting on at least one door.

Republican county Elections Commissioner Mary Beth Casey said that the temporary fixes would be in place until permanent solutions were undertaken, which would probably include new curb cuts in front of the school constructed this summer.

The pending agreement was reached during a visit to the school Tuesday by Casey and Democratic Election Commissioner Bill Montfort, Casey said.

“Everything went great during our visit — the school officials were very gracious,” she said. “There’s going to be no problem with using the facilities — We’re all going to do whatever we need to prior to the April 24 presidential primary.”

Casey said the school board members hadn’t realized that the school facilities were the only buildings in town that could accommodate voters from all four districts in one location.

She said that putting all four voting machines with all the inspectors back in the town hall, where they were located about 20 years ago, would be “horrific.”

Dismayed about the initial vote ban, Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty said Wednesday he was pleased that the school board members had changed their minds.

“I’m happy we’ve come to a compromise and do what’s right for the people of Warrensburg,” he said.

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