Publisher's Note: No need for a day off
By Jody Reese
In Manchester and Nashua, elementary and high school students had Election Day off — and in Manchester every city employee had the day off — perhaps to bask in the light of democracy.
In the case of the closed schools, the logic is that the schools are used as places to vote and thus the schools shouldn’t be open. In Manchester they just close down everything — except the clerk’s office, which tabulates the votes.
Shutting down the schools and for Manchester all city government is an expensive and completely unnecessary thing to do for these city elections. Polling places don’t need to be in schools. In many other places they are at fire stations, churches, social clubs and community centers. Even in Manchester one ward holds its voting in a community center.
And why shut down the whole city government in Manchester? Even the trash isn’t picked up on Election Day. Employees could easily vote on their lunch breaks or before work, like private employees have to do. Furthermore, if it’s an attempt to get more people to show up at the polls, it’s a failure. Manchester will be lucky to see 30 percent of eligible voters actually cast a ballot.
Perhaps the new mayor in Manchester — Nashua’s mayor is not up for election — will work to change this and save some hard-earned tax dollars. Or in Manchester’s case some hard-won parking fines.