Election Day Off
December 12, 2019
The ideal place to vote is an easily accessible public building to a specific area of people. Schools are one of the more common places for a person to vote. In fact, Omaha Public Schools offers 20 schools to be used as voting places during Election Day.
However, there are many people who are concerned with the combination of unfamiliar voting adults and young students. Many people are concerned for the students’ safety, and others are concerned about the lack of voter turnout because of the inconvenience before and after the school day, both being common voting times.
“The atmosphere was positive since we felt like we were a part of the democratic process, but it did require a great deal of advanced planning and careful monitoring to ensure student safety and a successful voting experience,” principal Dr. Ed Bennett explained.
The Omaha Public Schools board has tackled this issue by making the decision to cancel class for all students on Election Day, starting in the 2020-2021 school year.
“I think both students and voters will be more comfortable on election day. Students won’t have their daily routines altered and voters will surely find better parking spaces,” Bennett said. This will keep schools available as polling places without the added concern of kids and adults sharing space.
Meanwhile, Millard Public Schools will keep one of their schools as a polling place, with procedures for safety and security put in place. Schools in other districts, such as Papillion-LaVista and Bellevue, are not used as polling places.