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AISD Wants To Make Election Day A Student Holiday. That Means Schools Could Be Voting Sites Again.

The empty hallway at Bedicheck Middle School in South Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez
If Austin ISD makes Election Day a student holiday, school buildings could become polling sites this fall.

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Schools in Travis County likely will be polling sites during the presidential election Nov. 3.

Local election officials had been unsure whether schools would be safe places to vote during the pandemic. At a school board meeting Monday, however, Austin Independent School District officials indicated they want to make Election Day a student holiday. Students would have the day off, while teachers could catch up on training.

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, who has been looking for polling sites, says that means school buildings could become “available for voters in a very safe way.”

“This is excellent news,” she said.

The pandemic has made finding polling places more difficult this year. DeBeauvoir said grocery stores, a popular voting option in Austin, are no longer safe. She said it has also been more difficult to convince property managers and owners to open their doors to voters during the pandemic.

Local election officials have said they plan on having 35 early voting centers and 200 Election Day sites in Travis County this fall. DeBeauvoir said all the early voting sites have been chosen, but she still needs more locations Nov. 3.

AISD officials will likely take a formal vote on making Election Day a student holiday next month. DeBeauvoir said putting schools back on the table as an option would be a big help.

“We are going to be in a better position than we thought,” DeBeauvoir said. “We are not losing as many [sites] as we thought we might.”

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Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.
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