« ÎnapoiContinuă »
OF THIS PUBLICATION MAY BE PROCURED FROM
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON, D. C.
5 CENTS PER COPY
88199-15. (To face page 3.)
FIG. 1.-Ballot box carried in procession from the town hall to the schoolhouse, Sauk City, Wis., Oct. 3, 1914.
THE SCHOOLHOUSE AS THE POLLING PLACE.
PART I.—USE OF SCHOOLHOUSE FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES.
It was a great day-last Tuesday. election. Above the schoolhouse the American flag was waving as always when school is in session. But it seemed to proclaim new meaning on Tuesday, for under its folds not the children only were gathering as on other days, but the adult citizens were also coming to participate in the great cooperation which makes of every neighborhood, every town, each State, and of all America one equal fellowship.
So wrote Principal and Civic Secretary M. T. Buckley, of Sauk City, Wis., on November 7, 1914, a few days after the first election held in the public schoolhouse, the established civic center of that town.
The ballot box was out in the open space at the front of the grammar room. It was not only the convenient but the truly appropriate location, for here, from its stand, ever the image of Lincoln companioned our citizens as-one by one each cast his vote. The words from Lincoln's first inaugural came to my mind: "Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?" And then those words with which his second inaugural closed: "A just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." And as I thought how, unto death, he strove for just this thing-that questions of difference might be settled by peaceful, orderly decision of majorities, instead of by irrational appeal to force it seemed to me very strange that voting should ever be done anywhere else than in the public schoolhouse, where Lincoln's picture is, and where most purely and strongly his democratic spirit lives.
BENEFICIAL TO THE SCHOOL.
Close school on election day? Citizens coming here to vote might interfere with the regular educational process in this building? I would say that the boys and girls might better stay away from the schoolhouse on any other day than this, for here is the fundamental and supreme act of government. To witness this primary governmental cooperation gives to the youth a point of living contact for understanding the whole civic process beyond what is given by mere words and theory. It is not too much to say that the continuity of the educational process would be broken if the young people were not to
come on the day that adult citizens gather here to vote, as it is broken in those communities where one building is used for civic training and another for this Supreme elvic expression.
The day was what it ought to be everywhere-a day that made America mean something, something positive and rational, something not chance-directed, but socially controllable, something tremendously worth working for.
VOTING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLHOUSES BECOMING GENERAL.
The movement for making the public schoolhouse the polling place, which is a part of the first step in actual community center development, has made rapid progress during the past few years. It was of the growth and spread of this movement and the accompanying one of using the schoolhouses as civic forums that President Wilson
FIG. 2.--The former location of the ballot box at Sauk City-in the building with the fire apparatus and the jail.
said: "It must challenge to cooperation every man and woman who shares the spirit of America and appreciates the importance of visualizing the common interest."
IT IS ECONOMICAL.
Among the reasons why public-school buildings are coming to be used for voting, perhaps the most obvious is economy. To use existing public buildings obviates the needless expense of renting private places or purchasing, transporting, setting up, retransporting, and storing special booths for this purpose. The amount of this saving tends to increase with the growing frequency of elections.