If you’re a North Riverside voter who lives in Proviso Township Precinct 102 — that’s the area of the village west of 9th Avenue — your polling place has been relocated for the March 15 primary election.

No longer will Precinct 102 voters cast their ballots at Komarek School. Instead, you’ll need to head over to Mater Christi Church, 2401 10th Ave. The polling place will be located in the lower level of the church. There is an elevator that can provide access to the site.

According to James Scalzitti, deputy communications director for the Cook County Clerk’s Office, there will be signs outside the church, directing voters to the proper entrance to the new polling place.

The Cook County Clerk on March 4 announced the locations of new polling places for voters in 48 precincts in suburban Cook County.

The switch from Komarek School has been a long time coming. Many years ago, former Komarek District 94 Superintendent Neil Pellicci had requested that the county clerk move the polling place from the school, but told the Landmark three years ago that the request had been denied.

While the school was closed on some election days, it remained open on other occasions, and staff would erect barricades in the hallway to keep lost voters from wandering the hallways. 

In 2013, Illinois Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka publicly supported legislation prohibiting polling places from being allowed in public and private schools. The legislation also had the support of Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel.

The legislation was promoted as a student safety measure.

“There are government buildings, churches and other polling place locations that do not put students at risk or disrupt the school day,” Topinka, who died in December 2014, said at the time.

District 94 Superintendent Brian Ganan said the plan to remove Komarek School from the polling place list was in the works when he took over from Pellicci in July 2015. He said he’s glad the change was made.

“It makes it much easier for us,” Ganan said.  

While Komarek School has now been taken off the list of polling places, there are plenty of local schools that still remain open to voters on Election Day, including Ames, Central, Blythe Park, and Hauser Junior High schools in Riverside and Hollywood; Lincoln, Congress Park, and S.E. Gross Middle schools in Brookfield.