Guilford County Schools busing kids to the polls

The Facebook page of Greensboro’s flagship high school is making sure to inform everyone that 17-year olds can register and vote in North Carolina’s March 3 “Super Tuesday” primary. And if they need a ride to the polls, apparently they can catch one on a Guilford County Schools bus:

Some Guilford County commissioners were expressing major concerns on Tuesday, Feb. 18 after learning that Guilford County Schools is busing students to the polls to vote this year.

While the commissioners acknowledge that it’s a good thing for people to vote – some commissioners also said that they’re extremely concerned about the political bias that could be brought into the process given the groups involved and what appears to be a lack of oversight.

They also expressed concerns over the use of school buses to transport the students to the polls, as well as concerns over the schools failure to fully inform the county of the plan – and even to inform school board members about such a major operation.

County Commissioner Justin Conrad told the Rhino Times he only learned about the plan “when the school system asked him permission as a parent to have his own child driven to the polls for early voting.” And fellow Commissioner Alan Branson–like Conrad, a Republican—expressed concern over Superintendent Sharon Contreras’ comments that GCS’ budget issues should be resolved at the polls:

“She’s trying to get what she wants from the schools,” Branson said of the superintendent and the new mass-voting program. “Is it right; is it legal?” They’re taking them on a field trip to register and vote on county transportation with bus drivers at an extra expense.“

Branson said that, given those that he’s heard are involved in the operation, it is very, very difficult to imagine that everything is being done with no political bias.

For its part, GCS claims two nonpartisan groups are helping with the effort to get kids to the polls and –according to the Rhino–“they’re being very careful to make sure politics is left out of it…..schools will not encourage the students to vote one way or another – only to vote.”

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...