Here’s how Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is balancing students and early voters, all on the same campus

Securing schools as polling sites

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The process at East Meck is similar to how other CMS schools are operating.

School campuses have sectioned off the campus either using a gym or their overflow classrooms to host voters for early voting.

Meaning they’ve had to transform places like the gym on at East Mecklenburg High School to a location that you can safely cast your ballot.

Usually when John Morgan is on school grounds, it’s for school days with his son. But Monday his reason was different.

“Coming out and force doing it for this guy," said Morgan pointing to his young son. “I think it’s really important that we demonstrate our most important civic duty and that’s getting out here; choosing our leaders.”

Morgan and hundreds of others funneled through East Mecklenburg High School’s gym to cast their ballots on Monday.

“Normally we are across the street at the Independence Library,” said site coordinator Willie Stratford Jr. “Here we are in a high school gymnasium just because of the pandemic. We have more space [here]. People can social distance."

The process at East Meck is similar to how the 18 other CMS schools are operating. School campuses have sectioned off the campus either using a gym or their overflow classrooms to host voters for early voting.

“The school is on the other end of the campus. So we don’t even interact with the with the school or the students or the faculty at all,” said Stratford Jr..

Right now Pre-K and CMS students in the EC program have returned on campus for in-person learning, meaning there’s minimal students and staff and the building compared to usual.

The district says oting takes place using an entrance and exit that does not require people to go through areas of school where staff or students would be present.

“We follow those protocols. We sanitize. The school custodial staff, they come in every night sanitize the restrooms," says Stratford Jr.

The Board of Elections is using 18 CMS schools for early voting through Oct. 31 (including weekends). The district says the Board of Elections is responsible for wiping down all of the machines and the voting areas.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools being used as voting sites are:

  • Ardrey Kell High School
  • Butler High School
  • Community House Middle School
  • East Mecklenburg High School
  • Garinger High School
  • Hickory Grove Elementary School
  • Hough High School
  • Independence High School
  • Mallard Creek High School
  • Matthews Elementary School
  • Myers Park High School
  • North Mecklenburg High School
  • Olympic High School
  • Providence High School
  • Renaissance West STEAM Academy
  • South Mecklenburg High School
  • Southwest Middle School
  • West Charlotte High School

Internal CMS custodial teams are working after hours to ensure that all other areas (restrooms, trash, etc.) are cleaned and ready for the next day.

A representative from CMS’ communications team also says custodial staff is also monitoring during voting hours to confirm everything is being addressed and will escalate any concerns.

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