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February 24, 2013

State should combine election dates

CHICKASHA — Elections are a precious thing, and we find the treatment of school board elections by the state of Oklahoma to be deplorable.

February may be the worst possible month to hold any election, and given the lack of publication and politicization of school board elections, placing them in February is a virtual electorate death sentence. Weather conditions are rarely ideal in February and we can't find blame with voters who would rather remain safe then risk danger by getting out to vote.

In addition, we find holding school board elections alone with no others is costly and will only work to hinder voter participation.

The solution is simple. Combine school board elections with the general municipal elections to save money and increase voter turnout.

The Feb. 12 elections cost Chickasha Independent School District $4,500 to hold, according to the Grady County Election Board. This money could be spent elsewhere and put to better use if the school board elections piggybacked off of municipal elections.

Paul Zirak, Secretary of the Oklahoma State Election Board,  said he favors combining election days when it comes to school board and agreed February is a terrible month to host any sort of election. He said some proposals have been made at the state level to change to a multi-election cycle.

We hope our legislators will take a good long look at these proposals and come to the realization that independent school board elections are a detriment to their respective school districts and the democratic process.

Passing legislation that combines election days can only help in every facet of this problem, so we implore the state government to rectify this situation as soon as possible before another school board election with a voter turnout of 350 passes by.

Editorials represent a consensus of the editorial board of The Express-Star.

The editorial board is composed of the editor, publisher and various staff members.

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