School board election and referendums on the same day re: SB#165

148th General Assembly

Senate Bill 165

Primary Sponsor(s):


Additional Sponsor(s):    Rep. Hudson & Rep. Ramone


Sens. Bushweller, Henry; Rep. Bolden

Introduced On:


Long Title:


Synopsis of Original Bill:

(without Amendments)

The purpose of this Act is to eliminate the potential for improper electioneering in schools being used as polling placed and to increase voter participation. To accomplish this purpose, this Act directs the Department of Elections to conduct all public school elections by United States mail and requires that all voters participating in such an election be registered voters.

This Act also provides that all public school elections will be held on the same day, the second Tuesday of May. This includes referendum elections under Chapters 19, 20, and 21 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code and, therefore, a school board may hold only 1 referendum election in any calendar year, on the second Tuesday of May.

Lastly, this Act makes several amendments to Chapters 19, 20, and 21 of Title 14 of the Delaware Code to reflect the change in method of voting in public school elections to mail ballots.

Current Status:

Senate Education Committee   On  07/15/2015

What do you think about this legislation? A no vote for sitting board member at the same time  voting no for referendum? 

This legislation is loaded with radical changes  and might need to be scaled back! One thing needs to be done is, no school activities after 3 p.m. on school board and referendum election days. Conrad’s parking lot was a fucking nightmare! And it would put a damper on Red Clay’s perfected intentional activities on referendum nights! 

Voting by mail could bring more problems! Where’s the verification? Registered voter? I think the time has come to explore that idea! Register voters for voting on referendums might be better if only property owners vote.

As far as referendums, I think we should move to traditional public schools the way we do votechs!

School board elections!! Move them to the general election whereas only registered voters can vote.  What school board elections will become political?? Right LOL !! 


17 responses to “School board election and referendums on the same day re: SB#165

  1. Publius e decere

    Wowie zowie, this doozie is a lot of bill to read. I will reserve some comments for a full review.

    Initial impressions:

    1. Complex enough to disenfranchise the undereducated. Bad in general, but ironic for sure.
    2. “Only on non-white paper”. Really? Ignoring the obvious irony this “does” disrespect the vision-impaired, even though “some bloggers” don’t respect vision impairment as a disability.
    3. Kilroy, are you saying that the vote should be limited to property owners? If so, then a landlord of a 150-unit apartment complex should control the opinions of all 150+ adult renting residents? I don’t think that is what you meant. Correct me if I am mistaken.

    I get the enthusiasm to eliminate electioneering. Maybe there is an easier way. Hold the elections anywhere “other” than a public school. That would put the pecuniary and petulant voters on an even footing. Monitor the electioneering at those locations, and fine electioneers who violate.

    Paper-mail voting has many drawbacks, but it can be done. I would rather see the (above) solution. Hold elections at apartment building lobbies, supermarkets, convenience stores, and post offices. Stop holding them in school buildings.



    • lastDEconservative

      Good luck reading the whole bill, why, I didn’t know anyone, even Publius could read smoke screed (get it? Screed, not screen).

      I’ll stop here: “The purpose of this Act is to eliminate the potential for improper electioneering in schools being used as polling placed and to increase voter participation.”

      Okay, let me getrid of “placed” instead of places. There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no stoopid mistakes in the missives of the elites. (Note to the denizens, the benign, apologetic, no, forgiving, “typo” was not used to describe the inexcusable blunder).

      Now, to quickly fulfill one of my principal (and principled) roles here for the denizenry, I’ll just say before I run off at the call of duty …

      … anything the elected today seek to eliminate (and or increase) is only there (or not) … are you ready again? … because they (the elected! Keep up!) put it there (or diminished its chances) in the first place.

      So when you engage one of these preening few (I’m sure Sir Kwacko will drone in), harrumphing around in high dudgeon about sins of the great unwashed that must be purged from the land by their mighty and just hand, just ask, “why is it that way to begin with?”

      Motion from the floor: Reduce the legislative season from 6 months to 6 days. All in favor …

      Question from the floor: Who among you believes (pfft, almost used ‘thinks’) for a minute that this won’t make the (presumed bad) situation worse?


    • -I’m in on ONE VOTE in any given year for a referendum.

      -I’m also in on NO Absentee voting. Show up or don’t but MAIL IN just doesn’t fly. (Date should be one when snow birds are not away though.)

      -While the idea of one person one vote is supposedly the American way, the fact is, we have reached a tipping point where there are a very high percentage of those contributing far less to our financial resources than others AND they are voting to commit more and more of the “others” resources to themselves. It is a class warfare of sorts that was debated all the way back to the founders days.(only landowners could vote) Understandably the contributors are not OK with carrying a burden that everyone should be carrying some portion of. Should only landowners get to vote? I don’t know that that’s the answer but when property ‘taxes’ are levied against property ‘owners’, it would seem a contradiction if non-property owners have a vote when their rent may or may not go up (or is paid via subsidies and government assistance). Not a clear cut answer.

      “As far as referendums, I think we should move to traditional public schools the way we do votechs!
      -I humbly disagree. All this does is push the actual issues of school districts away from the voters most involved with the issues. It defers it to the legislature and away from what little accountability there is already. Proportioning of the funding would get even muddier and who will answer for district mismanagement of fiscal irresponsibility if it lands in legislators laps. The legislators will not be responsive enough, in addition the school districts don’t correspond with legislative districts. The friction we see with these referendums is directly related to democracy. People’s votes for / against go directly to the issue at hand-Educational funding/ Voter approval or disapproval. Few residents pay attention long enough to vote narcissistic representatives out of office as it is, you really think representatives and districts will be responsive to elections two years from when a referendum occurs?

      “Hold elections at apartment building lobbies, supermarkets, convenience stores, and post offices.”
      -I’m not down with this Publius. It already costs enormous amounts to hold referendums/ elections in “controlled” environments of schools. Voting at every ACME just screams “crazy say what?” No doubt the electioneering and propagandizing needs to stop but dropping your ballot off in the box next to the tabloids is a scary thought. Maybe all voting referendum or otherwise should be part of when you file your taxes. When you file (if you file) you get to vote for referendums or other things. It has your ID #’s, it is an official form, it already has to be reviewed, verifies an address, and can normally only happen once a year. What do you think? I like this much better.


  2. lastDEconservative

    Let’s hope our wise leaders get this simple bollocks straightened out post haste. According to the NJ today, they have two much bigger, partnering adversaries at the gates, mother nature and the free market of the nation, discovered (yet again) to be in anti-utopian cahoots.

    I’m a little amused that one of the Republic’s socialist legislatorettes actually admitted as much … that the free market is not solving this, so the wise must force them to solve it, ‘it’ being one of the more vexing truths of mother nature that socialist elites find so galling — women generally work less hours in generally less demanding jobs than the overbearing, unfairly entitled, typically male worker, thus bringing down the income average that such ignored firebrands as Marissa Meyer , Meg Whitman, and yes, Smarmy Fiorina, so mightily raise.

    Sigh. That poor playbook, so worn and tattered, yet so useful in swaying the great unwashed, long since indoctrinated, lullaby dozing, govt schooled, masses. “Harrumph, harrumph, watch me preen.”


    • “women generally work less hours in generally less demanding jobs than the overbearing, unfairly entitled, typically male worker, thus bringing down the income average”
      I noticed that too. Funny that “statistics” strikes again and the handlers of the statistics normally choose the narratives they want instead of factoring in all the variables. Admitting the “handling” is part of the problem was rather surprising. Normally the masses are fed only what serves the propagandizing. There are “lies, damn lies, and statistics”


  3. I’m at the Senate Education Committee meeting right now. They just finished discussing this bill. While we won’t know if it was released from committee right away, my sense based on the number of Senators speaking against this bill as well as public comment, this bill will not go anywhere.


  4. M rider why make an exception for snowbirds… You had said “show up or don’t vote” stick to your guns….
    And the turning back the election clock to only landowners vote…. Love it… You guys and our pesky constitution!


    • I’m not advocating that only land owners get to vote, only pointing out property tax voting could be a debatable point. It IS a conundrum that if you aren’t paying into the ‘pot’ via property taxes (i.e.:your rent is subsidized or rent doesn’t fluctuate when property taxes go up, or you live with your parents) yet you still get to vote to raise the taxes, that seems a bit unreasonable, don’t you think? Even the 18-20 year old who is still living at home can vote but isn’t paying any property taxes. Should they get to vote to raise property taxes?

      I’ll stick with my guns 😉
      And I’m A OK with making sure the vote occurs at an appropriate time. Snowbirds don’t typically stay away all school year. Not trying to be contradictory, just mentioning that holding a vote when a large portion of residents who normally have to pay property taxes, are away, is probably not appropriate. Parents at Disney or Snowbirds who don’t come back until Easter should not be excluded and holding referendums in February means there are elderly / senior residents who are away.


  5. M Ryder your next sentence said with a wink wink should be have the vot in July when parents with young kids are on vacation…”show up or don’t vote…. Too bad you were visiting Mickey”


  6. Call it ocean city… Guess I need to be more literal for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hopefully all realize this bill is bunk. For those who want to see it in its entirety

    There is nothing wrong with continuing elections as the are current. But there is something wrong with limiting a school districts option to reschedule new referendums for lesser amounts in a timely fashion if the first one gets shot down…

    And can anyone explain why it is wrong for schools to electioneer for something that so directly affects them, when it is not wrong for someone two counties away to direct mail everyone in that district to tell them to vote no?

    This sounds like pettiness and sour grapes that the referendum was passed, and seeing Ramone’s name is attached, I guess that explains it.


    • Publius e decere

      Sure kavips, I can explain.

      When I go into an election place,I expect my neutrality to be respected in fact and in comportment. I don’t want the candidates to be glad-handing me within feet of the booth and I don’t want to be made to feel that I “have to” vote for someone just because they decided to show up at my polling place and use the Power of Positive Intimidation on me.

      I’ve been to enough “school” election polling places to have a point of view. My experiences in different elections are as follows:

      In the city (of Wilmington),
      the poll workers when I voted were 100% women and African-American and by their own reckoning were employees of the district… and they were pleasant and engaging and downright fun to interact with. They even called out my name with loud cheer and fun laughter when I stepped into the booth. However, they all made it very clear that they were advocates for the vote, so their persuasive close-quarters charm (well expressed) had the effect of “electioneering”. This kind of engagement we can not easily legislate against, and we probably should not. But it is an electioneering reality nonetheless. It is a bias at the polls.

      In the suburbs,
      the poll workers were a gender mix and primarily Caucasian.. Unlike my City experience these poll workers seemed more edgy and rule-bound. I was scrutinized by several tiers of “poll workers” before I got to the actual polling booth and — the obvious profiling admitted here — few of them appeared to me to be educators or unbiased citizens. They carried the demeanor and stance of ward bosses and censors and people determined to keep out people who :shouldn’t vote “their way”… Sorry, but that IS what I experienced.

      what is a possible solution?

      If the school buildings are the most logical place to vote then close the school buildings to all non-election activities after noon on Election Day. Then open the polls therein at 2 PM. This would keep the vote process relevant to schools, balance convenience among employees and non-employee taxpayers, and enable an environment free of electioneering. We could then improve the election system with a set of standards and qualifications for poll workers to avoid some of the obvious coercion which was and is evident at the polls.

      On election day, closed school means no clubs, no band, no sports, no awards, no PTO, not anything. The campus should not sponsor or enable ANY activity other than the process of voting, and that advocacy should not come from the school but, rather , from the department of elections or from the grass roots voters.


    • “But there is something wrong with limiting a school districts option to reschedule new referendums for lesser amounts in a timely fashion if the first one gets shot down…”

      No there isn’t. If it was a one shot deal per year, then the district would be much more likely to evaluate their situation and present the legitimate case on the basis that they only get one shot. It means they have to have their ducks in a row and it means residents are not asked the same question 3-6 months from now in the hopes the outcome is different. It means the proposal must be more sound and fiscally responsible. Currently it’s like a car salesman approach. He’ll ask for 5000.00 and then if they don’t bite, he’ll ask for 4250.00 and the buyer (taxpayer) thinks he’s getting a discount or bargain. I’m calling for NO-DICKER STICKER. It eliminates a game our districts have been playing for many years.

      The fact that you’re OK with ANY electioneering raises distinct questions of your understanding of objectivity and fairness.

      As far as sour grapes, you must’ve seen the comments here from some posters that expressed frustration over the fact that the last non-passed CSD referendum was defeated by 900 votes. You had to see that. If you didn’t, then I offer that as a contradiction that winning by 142 is A OK but losing by almost 1000 is circumventing democracy. Furthermore, is it OK for only 23 votes to decide to raise taxes when it was the second vote within several months (several years ago)?


  8. Thanks for both comments. I can understand the emotion behind each; just need some time to figure how they fit into the big picture. Both were very good comments that effectively express a viewpoint.


  9. publius, I thought that the GA passed the bill last year saying that beginning in 2017 schools would have to be closed on days when the buildings were used as polling places. I could be wrong about that, but if it’s so, it eliminates 90% of what you perceive as a problem, because “closed” also means no extracurricular activities. Does anybody know?

    I’m interested in your experience voting because I have also voted in the city and the suburbs, and I have never run into a school employee as a poll worker. I did not think that was allowed. When I have talked to the poll workers many of them are retirees picking up a few extra bucks and do this a lot. But I obviously have not been to every polling place.

    The biggest challenge for both sides in these referenda and school board elections is GOTV, and of course the schools have begun with an electioneering edge because they can throw “positive, feel-good” events. Thus far opponents have relied on sign, social media, and robo-calls to counter a more extensive district strategy. I’m waiting for the day when they wise up and counter-program with, for example, events in the retirement homes, VFW halls, churches, etc., that occur the same day as the election and give rides to people in buses or vans with large signs on them saying, “Vote for Budget responsibility in our schools” or something like that. In other words, quit trying legislative action, get in the same game and do it better.

    Don’t whine like Sanders and Trump about the rules, use them to your advantage like Clinton and Cruz.


  10. The school tax system is broken! There has to be a better way. If you live in an apartment, why should you be allowed to vote? You don’t pay any property taxes, but your reaping the benefits of the district you live in, time to cough up some money then!
    A referendum should be voted on 1 time in a year, that is it. Too much money is wasted on promoting a new (down sized) referendum.
    In the Cape school district; all people who pay property taxes, should have the ability to vote. Then it should be when most people are there, DURING THE SUMMER!