Am I Ready To Vote in School Board Elections?
Voting is the foundation of our democracy across, and schools are the heart of our communities. Our public education system is directly connected to public health, incarceration rates, employment, economic success, and more. Regardless of whether you have kids in school now, voting in your local school board election is one of the best ways to support your community.
This year, school board elections are May 9th from 7:00am to 8:00pm.
For school board elections, you do not need to be registered in order to vote.
Click through the buttons below to learn more:
To Vote in School Board Elections, you must be
- Be a citizen of the United States and the State of Delaware.
- Live in the school district for which the election is being conducted.
- Be 18 years of age on or before the day of the election.
*You do not have to be registered in order to vote in school board elections
To find the school district you're voting in, enter your address in the Delaware Elections District Look Up Tool website.
Finding Your Polling Location
Polling places for school board elections are different from those used at general and primary elections. To find your polling places, use the Delaware Department of Elections School Board website.
Scroll down until you’ve found your school district, click it, and then you’ll see the polling places for your district. For school board elections, you are able to vote at any of the locations within your school district.
Bring an ID
Voters must bring one of the following forms of ID:
- State-issued photo ID
- Utility bill
- Any government document with the voter’s name and address
In order to vote absentee, you must qualify for one of the reasons listed on the Absentee Ballot Request Form.
To request your absentee ballot, you can
- Through the Department of Elections Voter Portal
- Download, fill out, and return a pdf copy of the form
- Call or Email the Department of Elections and request an absentee ballot application
- Pick up an application at the Department of Elections
You must request your absentee ballot by noon on Friday, May 5th.
If you vote absentee, you can either return your ballot by mail to your county Department of Elections office (click here to find your county office address) or you can vote absentee in person at your county Department of Elections office. At the office, you will complete an absentee ballot application and then vote. You can go in person and return your absentee ballot between 8:30am and 4:00pm until two days before the election and between 8:00am and noon on the day before the election.
For information on who’s running in your district, visit VoteDelaware. There you can learn about your candidate’s background and where they stand on the key issues.
1. Budget Equity
a. Closing the Funding Gap
Equity is all about making sure that everyone has what they need in order to be successful. This means recognizing that each school and student are unique and need individualized plans for success.
Working towards eliminating discrimination that exists within our school systems, begins largely with addressing historical funding gaps that disproportionately impact Black and brown neighborhoods. With significant decision-making power and million dollar budgets to allocate, school boards play an important role in this fight. They are responsible for hiring decisions and ensuring that budgets and resources, such as textbooks, equipment, and supplies are equitably distributed. While efforts to improve funding for Delaware’s low-income schools have increased in recent years, we must elect school board officials who are dedicated to continuing to bridge funding gaps, or huge imbalances in education equity will persist.. That role also includes eliminating any discrimination that exists within school districts.
No student’s educational experience should be defined by their zip code. To close the funding gap, school boards must allow for the priorities and needs of students, parents, and teachers in the community to guide the process. Tailoring budgets to what each school needs instead of operating with a one size fits all model, will help ensure that all students can begin their academic journeys at the starting line with their peers.
2. Restorative Discipline
a. Restorative Discipline
The number of schools that have School Resource Officers (SROs) has grown dramatically over the past decades despite the fact that research and recent events prove that SROs and constables do not make schools safer. In fact, according to Federal Civil Rights data, Delaware students attending schools with police are eight times more likely to be arrested than students attending schools without police.
SROs often have little to no training or experience in dealing with children, which can lead to serious consequences, for minor infractions. Students are removed from classes, subjected to physical restraint, interrogation, and other risks to their rights to education, due process, and equal treatment. The over-criminalization of learning environments only fuels that “school-to-prison pipeline”, and disproportionately impacts Black and brown children who often experience harsher discipline than their white counterparts.
Too often, schools don’t address the underlying problems that may be impacting students. Students could be struggling with a disability or experiencing poverty, abuse, or neglect and the emotions and problems these issues can bring can cause a student to act out. But punishing a student for something that is ultimately out of their control isn’t fair and instead can compound the problem.
School boards have the power to invest in restorative discipline practices that build safer and more inclusive school environments that are not rooted in fear and bias but instead nurtures and values all of our children. We need school board members who are ready to fund preventative, trauma-informed interventions, such as social workers, school counselors, psychologists, and other mental health professionals.
3. Inclusion in Schools
Schools should be inclusive spaces that welcome and value all students who walk through the doors. Safe educational spaces are especially important for LGBTQ+ students, who often face bullying and discrimination at inside and outside of classroom walls.
School boards play an important role in being allies to these students. School board members can be openly accepting of all students, while working to promote and enact progressive and inclusive policies for their districts. These policies have the power to recognize and tell students that they are seen and valued for exactly who they are.
Over the past few years in Delaware, both the Red Clay Consolidated and Christina School Districts have passed such policies and it’s something that should be replicated by school boards across the state. For more information on these policies, check out the ACLU of Delaware’s webpage on School Board’s Role in Your Rights.
b. Language Accessibility
In recent years, Delaware has seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of its population identifying as Hispanic/Latino. The 2020 U.S. Census confirmed that 104,290 Delaware residents, or 1 in every 10 Delawareans, identify themselves as such. However, the true number is thought to be much higher as many immigrants may distrust government officials and fear sharing personal data causing immigrants to be undercounted in the U.S. Census. Regardless, these statistics make one thing very clear- Delaware’s Spanish-speaking community is only growing and state services must grow too.
Language should never be a barrier to education access. Just like every family, there are certain services or support that Spanish-speaking families need in order to ensure their children are able to succeed . Offering translated resources and materials is an important step towards creating a school community in which Spanish-speaking families feel included and engaged in their child’s education. Knowing what’s going on in the classrooms, understanding new or existing school policies, and being aware of different opportunities for students, will ensure that these students and parents thrive.
Spanish-speaking students and families are an integral part of our community. Our school boards must recognize the value of diversity within Delaware schools.
c. Staff Diversity
Students benefit when they are in schools with teachers and administrators who look like them. Diversity among teachers and administrators leads to:
- Improved graduation and college enrollment rates, higher attendance and achievement rates, particularly for students of color;
- Increased rates of parental involvement, especially among parents of color;, and
- More tolerant and inclusive classroom cultures with lower instances of bullying.
Delaware still has a long way to go in creating diverse leadership in its school systems According to a report by Rodel, during the 2020 - 2021 school year, over 70% of all teachers and administrators were white, despite only 42% of students in the state being white. It’s vital that school boards not acknowledge this issue as a serious barrier to student success, but are actively strategizing and implementing policies to create more diverse leadership in schools.
d. Right to Learn
Our First Amendment rights to read, learn, and discuss vital topics in schools are under attack. U.S. history is incomplete without acknowledging the legacy of discrimination and lived experiences of historically marginalized communities. Creating inclusive communities means ensuring that students are taught about viewpoints and experiences that are different to their own.
All young people, especially students of color and LGBTQ+ students, deserve a comprehensive education free of viewpoint based censorship and the right to an open and honest dialogue about the United States’ history.School boards can help address growing censorship and discrimination issues in education. School boards have the power to determine educational policies within their districts, and are responsible for selecting, purchasing, and distributing textbooks. Inclusive educational practices have been shown to increase graduation rates, increase college preparedness, and decrease bias incidents in schools.
4. Health and Safety
a. Lead Water in Schools
Schools have a responsibility to keep students safe. However, last year it was discovered that the state had failed to take adequate steps to ensure safe drinking water in Delaware public schools. A statewide investigation of school drinking water found that almost all samples tested positive for lead levels well above the legal health limits.
Lead can have drastic effects on children' s health including brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth and development, and increased behavioral and learning problems. Furthermore, these effects can disproportionately impact students with disabilities and who come from low-income households.
School boards can help ensure that Delaware students have access to clean water. School boards are responsible for creating annual reports on important issues and improvements that need to be addressed in their districts. By elevating critical issues like the lead water crisis, school boards can spread public awareness, increase budgeting for care and maintenance of building infrastructure, and hold relevant state and federal departments accountable. Students deserve to be safe in their classrooms, and families deserve to be able to trust that their children will be cared for at school. We need school board members who will take immediate and effective action to protect students’ health.
Under federal law, voters who have difficulty reading or writing English may receive in-person assistance at the polls from the person of their choice. This person cannot be the voter's employer, an agent of the voter's employer, or an agent or officer of the voter's union.
If you have trouble voting due to lack of English fluency, call one of these hotlines:
- Spanish: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA / 1-888-839-8682
- Arabic: 1-844-YALLA-US / 1-844-925-5287
- Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, Vietnamese: 1-888-API-VOTE / 1-888-274-8683
Federal law requires elections to be accessible to all eligible voters, including those with disabilities.
In federal elections, every polling place must have at least one voting system that allows voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently.
Voters with disabilities have the right to receive in-person help at the polls from the person of their choice. This helper cannot be the voter's employer, an agent of the voter's employer, or an agent or officer of the voter's union and must respect the voter's privacy, not looking at the voter's ballot unless the voter asks them to do so.
Election officials (including poll workers) must make reasonable accommodations as needed to help us vote and provide us with help if it's possible for them to do so.
REMEDIES IF WE ARE DENIED THE RIGHT TO VOTE ON A FEDERAL ELECTION:
Anyone denied the right to vote may still cast a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots are mandated by section 15482 of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).
To use a provisional ballot, each voter whose eligibility to vote is uncertain must provide a written affirmation, signed in front of an official election at the polling place, stating that he or she is a registered voter and is eligible to vote in the election.
Election officials must provide information to the voter on how the process works and how to find out if his or her ballot was cast—and if not, why not.
Make sure to ask for a provisional ballot if this happens. If we have any questions regarding our right to vote, please call 1-866-OUR-VOTE regarding Election Day assistance problems.
Check Back Soon for the 2023 Voter Toolkit!