Great Neck school district doubling places to vote

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Barbara Berkowitz, president of the Great Neck school board, prepares to respond as someone speaks before the board during open time. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education moved to double the number of zones where people could vote from two to four at a board meeting Wednesday night, following an election where thousands of voters were constrained to two polling sites.

Barbara Berkowitz, president of the Great Neck Board of Education, said that the idea arose following the contested elections in May regarding a $68.3 million bond, a $223.3 million budget and two trustee seats.

More than 8,000 voters came out to vote for the budget 6,772 to 1,607, the revised bond 6,299 to 1,925 and elect Jeff Shi and Rebecca Sassouni to the school board – the second highest turnout in the school district’s history.

“That was something we did, basically, because we had such a large turnout,” Berkowitz said. “Before that we did not have large turnouts for over a decade, two decades probably.”

When people go to vote in school or library elections going forward, there will be two additional locations. (Map courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)
When people go to vote in school or library elections going forward, there will be two additional zones factored in. (Map courtesy of the Great Neck Public Schools)

Previously, people could only vote at the E.M. Baker Elementary School for the district’s northern half and Great Neck South High School for the southern portion.

With the changes, Saddle Rock Elementary School and Lakeville Elementary School will be added as polling places with their own respective voting zones.

Berkowitz added that she’s confident that the four polling sites will make voting places less congested, but noted that elections likely won’t be as large the one that took place in May, when they couldn’t close the two polling sites until 11 p.m.

“We hope people will still have an interest, but we don’t know,” Berkowitz said. “They tend to come out when there’s a major issue.”

Adding two polling sites was also one of the Board of Education’s five stated goals for the 2017-2018 school year.

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