Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Haledon Official: Move Voting

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Haledon Official: Move Voting

Article excerpt

HALEDON -- The superintendent says he doesn't want the township's two school buildings -- as well as Manchester Regional High School, which is in Haledon -- to be used as voting sites because of concerns about security.

The Passaic County Board of Elections has been asked to eliminate the schools as polling sites based on the superintendent's concerns during the recent general election.

"Moving these sites will certainly improve the safety and security at the schools as well as improve the continuity of the educational process," Superintendent Miguel Hernandez wrote in a Nov. 28 letter to the Board of Elections.

"As I reviewed safety and security in the current environment, it occurs to me that continuing to open these two sites to voting leaves schools exposed to a potential security breach," he wrote.

Haledon Mayor Domenick Stampone, responding by letter on Dec. 7, urged the Board of Elections to maintain the "convenient locations" as polling sites.

"I fully understand and sympathize with the goal of protecting our kids," said Stampone, describing himself as a former prosecutor who "knows the value of a proactive approach to security."

He argued, however, that the superintendent's concerns were "purely speculative" and that "setting aside the 'inconvenience,' it is difficult to understand how allowing access to Haledon's citizens invites a 'security breach.' "

Stampone added in his letter: "In this era of wholesale efforts to undermine voting access and voters' rights, it is imperative that we do not create unnecessary, and even questionable, obstacles for voters."

Instead of cutting Haledon's polling places in half, he argued, the borough should be adding locations and making it easier for citizens to vote.

Haledon has six voting districts and four polling sites for its roughly 8,318 residents.

In addition to the two schools, voting now takes place at the recreation center on Roe Street and the Haledon Municipal Complex on Belmont Avenue. …

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