"Yukon school officials recently announced they will close school for November's general election," The Oklahoman's editorial board notes today.
Said Superintendent Jason Simeroth, “Educators have spoken at the Capitol and now we will make it much easier for our advocates to express their concerns for those that do not support education, and to support those that do support education by voting.”
So Yukon officials think inconveniencing and disrupting the schedules of parents will increase voting? Or is the message that teachers, unlike other adults who also work on Tuesdays, are unable to vote before or after work or take advantage of Oklahoma's simple absentee voting process? The implied message underlying this announcement is muddled, at best.
It also ignores the fact that, in many instances, primary elections on June 26 and subsequent runoffs on Aug. 28 will be more consequential than the November elections, since many legislative seats have a strong partisan tilt. While the June elections will occur during the summer break, Yukon is scheduled to start the 2018-19 school year on Aug. 16, so the runoff elections will be conducted after school starts. In many instances, the large number of candidates in districts means more runoffs are likely this year. Why not cancel school on Aug. 28 to “boost” turnout?
And if Yukon officials really think school interferes with voting, then why is the district not canceling school to “boost” turnout in the spring elections that decide school board races and bond proposals? Aren't those elections even more important to education?