Wake County students will get an extra two hours to sleep in on Election Day as schools will delay opening for classes that November morning.
The Wake County school board tentatively agreed Sept. 4 to open all 187 district schools on a two-hour delay on Nov. 6. School administrators made the request after citing how 68 schools serve as polling sites on what could be a busy Election Day.
The board gave final approval to the delayed opening at its Oct. 2 meeting.
“A two-hour delay would be helpful to handle both the traffic and the in’s and out’s with the heavy time of voting, which happens in the morning prior to school starting,” Superintendent Cathy Moore told the school board.
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Turnout is usually much lower for mid-term elections when there’s no presidential election on the ballot. But there’s a high degree of interest in this year’s elections in North Carolina.
Control of both Congress and the state legislature could shift as Democrats are hoping a “blue wave” will knock Republicans out of office. Republicans say they’re working hard as well to retain their legislative majorities.
This fall’s lengthy ballot in Wake County will also include several state constitutional amendments, and state judicial, Wake sheriff, Wake board of commissioners and Wake school board races. Wake voters will also decide on bond issues for schools, Wake Tech and parks.
“It’s going to be a long ballot,” said school board member Christine Kushner.
School officials say that the state’s school calendar law, which sets when the school year can begin and end, limits their flexibility to close schools on Election Day. But district leaders say they can reduce the impact that morning voting traffic has on schools.
“We want to encourage all citizens to exercise their right to vote, and sometimes that’s best done early in the morning,” Moore said.