Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Electoral Snow Job

Abominable snow kitten from I Can Has Cheezburger?

Regular readers of Kittywampus know that I spend a disproportionate amount of time ranting about my school district's silly approach to snow days. (One of its great features is that no snow is required, just weather too cold for flip-flops.) If you thought you were safe from this for a few more months, brace yourself for an unseasonable snow day rant ...

... because the a number of central Ohio schools have already declared November 4, Election Day, a fucking snow day! As the Columbus Dispatch reports:
At least six central Ohio suburban districts -- Bexley, Dublin, Groveport, Reynoldsburg, Westerville and Worthington -- have called off school on Election Day.
Today, says the Dispatch, the Franklin County Board of Elections was scheduled to consider asking Columbus city schools to do the same. The problem, apparently, is that the schools become overcrowded and voters have trouble finding a parking spot. Security issues also apparently play a role, although I'm not sure who's endangering whom. My district isn't on the list ... yet.

I'm not willing to say this is just Ohio's problem. Ohio seems to be a bellwether for electoral snafus as well as for who will win the presidency. We are the canary in America's pseudo-democratic coal mine.

Hey folks, I know it's too late for this election cycle, but if we've reached the point where Ohio's electoral woes are forcing us to cancel school - thus depriving children of crucial educational experiences, or at least creating massive childcare problems for their parents - then isn't it time to start thinking outside the box?

What about if we followed the example of most European countries? My German friends are bewildered at our "first Tuesday after the first Monday in November" scheduling. Not because that's such a mouthful, but because it strikes them as utterly stoopid not to hold elections on Sundays, when fewer people have work conflicts. I realize Congress would have to pass a law, but if it has time to pass resolutions against MoveOn's Petraeus/Betray Us ad, seems like it could squeeze Sunday elections onto the agenda.

The only downside I see to this is that the nice older ladies (my mom and her friends) who volunteer at the polls would have to play hooky from church. Call me a heathen, but I think that's a lesser evil than calling off school. And wouldn't it be lovely if our paragon of democracy didn't have one of the world's worst voter-turnout records?

No comments: