Thursday, March 18, 2010

Require Registration for School Elections

DSEA is briefing the Red Clay and the Christina Locals tonight on School Improvement Grants (SIG). Other Locals will be briefed in the following weeks. SIG presents many of the same challenges to districts and educators as Race To The Top only with a very abbreviated timeline in which to work out the challenges.
Tomorrow the State Employment Benefit Committee will meet. This is the second year in a row that the health plan is facing significant deficit issues. This year, the SEBC believes they need to find cost savings worth about $37 million.
Require Registration for School Elections

Why, in the State of Delaware is it possible for an individual who does not register to vote, to cast a ballot in local school board and referendum elections? Most citizens of the First State probably do not even know about this quirk in the law. In Delaware, one only has to live in the school district to vote in those elections.

We recognize that to have a voice in the governance of our city, county, state, and nation that one must be responsible and participatory in the democratic process by registering to vote. Yet, in the business of our school districts, electing the board members, and passing the taxation necessary to operate the schools, one only needs to show up with a utility bill showing that one has residence in the district.

How did this ever come to be? One could be a felon, denied voting right for all other offices, but granted the privilege for school elections simply by virtue of residence. Are the operations and governance of our schools less important than that of other public entities?

This issue becomes more problematic in Sussex County where districts may be geographically large with multiple sub-districts. There is no way to cross check voters on Election Day . One could take his utility bill to Sub-District A and then drive over a mile or two to Sub-District B and vote again.

Our schools and the people who run them, along with the funds to run them are important. Certainly important enough to be enfranchised into the democratic process along with other public bodies.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that provisions must be in place for checking for duplicate voting, I think the argument for true democracy is that the restrictive nature of having to be registered for all other elections is the barrier here. A utility bill and a license would likely increase voter participation in general elections, more like pure democracy. I would take your argument above and spin it exactly 180 degrees. We currently have a system for school elections that yields only interested voters that are more informed than most, just fewer in quantity. Hopefully the quality of the voter makes up for this dearth or voters. Tinkering with the formula for school board member elections brings with it many undesirable considerations: money, political party, and access to the ballot.