CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – The Wake County School Board is endorsing a plan to give students the day off on Election Day this November and for Juneteenth next school year.
At Tuesday’s school board work session meeting, board members discussed updating instructional calendars after calls from parents to make Election Day a teacher workday.
Parents Jennifer McMullin and Kirstin Morrison founded Safe Schools Polling. They said with more than 70 Wake County Schools being voting precincts, having classes take place at the same time as voting is concerning.
“The more people and the more traffic you have, the more opportunities you have for things to go awry,” McMullin said.
Wake County Schools said it is typical to assign a teacher workday on Election Day when it is a national election.
Since this year’s election doesn’t fall on a national election, it wasn’t added as a teacher workday.
McMullin and Morrison said with recent events such as the shooting in Uvalde, they have concerns with safety.
“We just feel like there are so many unnecessary risks with having voters and students during schools at the same time,” Morrison said. “When we thought about Uvalde, and the place the world is at right now, it just feels dangerous to have students and voters sharing the same space.”
At the Wake County Board of Elections staff is preparing for a big turnout for November’s elections.
“Historically, the most we’ve ever done in a midterm election was just over 59 percent right up under 60 percent,” Executive Director Gary Sims said. “Even if we hit 60 percent again, this time, you have to figure that’s 60 percent of over 800,000 voters.”
Earlier this year the Board of Elections sent a letter to the school district also asking them to make this election day a workday for students. Sims said his biggest concern is traffic.
“It is early morning drop off and afternoon pickup. Those are the biggest challenges,” Sims said.
At the meeting Tuesday, board members favored making Election Day a banked day instead of a teacher workday. However, they will still have to vote on it at their next meeting on Aug. 2nd.