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Election Day at Country Schools

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  • gwenythswain
    I m writing a fictional piece set in a one-room school around election day, 1920. I understand that many one-room schools were used as polling places. Could
    Message 1 of 4 , Jan 23, 2007
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      I'm writing a fictional piece set in a one-room school around election day, 1920. I understand
      that many one-room schools were used as polling places. Could any of you tell me whether
      students would be likely to attend school on election day, or would there be too many people
      about? Would voting take place, typically, in the schoolroom or the vestibule? Any thoughts
      on this topic would be a great help. THANKS, Gwenyth Swain, children's author.
    • George House
      My own recollections from the mid 1930 s until 1944 was that the school I attended was not held on election day. However, my school was the polling place for
      Message 2 of 4 , Jan 23, 2007
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          My own recollections from the mid 1930's until 1944 was that the school I attended was not held on election day.  However, my school was the polling place for the entire township and the election process required all of the space available.  The other schools in the township would not have been affected but I do not know if school was a holiday  for all the other  districts in the township on election day.
        Because I lived very near the school and my father was an election official I was privileged to witness, early on election day, the transformation of our classroom to the unfamiliar arrangement of desks, chairs, tables and the erection of the steel framed voting booths with canvass sides and entry flap.   Often times, as I learned the day after election, the election officials were at the school very late because the ballots  were counted and recorded after the polls closed at 9PM and then delivered to the county seat.  Occasionally, the counting process was not finished until the wee hours of the morning - maybe after 3AM.  The result was that on the morning of school after election day the schoolroom often appeared distressed because the normal arrangement of furnishings had not all been returned to their normal place. 
                   It was exciting for me to witness the arrival and departure of the voters as the day progressed.  My most vivid memory is seeing the election officials arrive early in the morning and prepare for what I remember being a 7AM starting time.  Those officials came for the "long" day, knowing that it might be 3AM or later when they were ready to leave.  Because of that, they brought boxes or baskets with their food for the day.  I can still recall, sitting on our recitation bench, an entire pumpkin pie brought by Mr Sheridan.  I envied him for long after - his whole pumpkin pie made an indelible impression on me.  Although there were some traces of the long election day that were left the next day at school, I did not find any left-over pie on the recitation bench.
                                        Thank you,
        This is recounted about the Lancaster School, Keokuk County , IA       George W. House
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 11:00 AM
        Subject: [oneroom] Election Day at Country Schools

        I'm writing a fictional piece set in a one-room school around election day, 1920. I understand
        that many one-room schools were used as polling places. Could any of you tell me whether
        students would be likely to attend school on election day, or would there be too many people
        about? Would voting take place, typically, in the schoolroom or the vestibule? Any thoughts
        on this topic would be a great help. THANKS, Gwenyth Swain, children's author.

      • James and Mary Krier
        Dear George, What a wonderful story from your impressionable youth! Your schoolhouse was still being used as a polling location when I became involved in the
        Message 3 of 4 , Jan 23, 2007
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          Dear George, What a wonderful story from your
          impressionable youth! Your schoolhouse was still
          being used as a polling location when I became
          involved in the Keokuk County Democratic Party, as I
          was a poll watcher assigned to three different
          townships during a presidential election year in the
          early 80's. Marilyn Horras was one of the election
          officials working that night, and I was allowed to
          tour the upstairs and the main floor while I was
          there. . .we need to visit. How did your meeting go
          the 4th, and when is our next meeting? Mary K.
          --- George House <gwhmah@...> wrote:

          > My own recollections from the mid 1930's until
          > 1944 was that the school I attended was not held on
          > election day. However, my school was the polling
          > place for the entire township and the election
          > process required all of the space available. The
          > other schools in the township would not have been
          > affected but I do not know if school was a holiday
          > for all the other districts in the township on
          > election day.
          > Because I lived very near the school and my father
          > was an election official I was privileged to
          > witness, early on election day, the transformation
          > of our classroom to the unfamiliar arrangement of
          > desks, chairs, tables and the erection of the steel
          > framed voting booths with canvass sides and entry
          > flap. Often times, as I learned the day after
          > election, the election officials were at the school
          > very late because the ballots were counted and
          > recorded after the polls closed at 9PM and then
          > delivered to the county seat. Occasionally, the
          > counting process was not finished until the wee
          > hours of the morning - maybe after 3AM. The result
          > was that on the morning of school after election day
          > the schoolroom often appeared distressed because the
          > normal arrangement of furnishings had not all been
          > returned to their normal place.
          > It was exciting for me to witness the
          > arrival and departure of the voters as the day
          > progressed. My most vivid memory is seeing the
          > election officials arrive early in the morning and
          > prepare for what I remember being a 7AM starting
          > time. Those officials came for the "long" day,
          > knowing that it might be 3AM or later when they were
          > ready to leave. Because of that, they brought boxes
          > or baskets with their food for the day. I can still
          > recall, sitting on our recitation bench, an entire
          > pumpkin pie brought by Mr Sheridan. I envied him
          > for long after - his whole pumpkin pie made an
          > indelible impression on me. Although there were
          > some traces of the long election day that were left
          > the next day at school, I did not find any left-over
          > pie on the recitation bench.
          > Thank you,
          > This is recounted about the Lancaster School, Keokuk
          > County , IA George W. House
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: gwenythswain
          > To: oneroom@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 11:00 AM
          > Subject: [oneroom] Election Day at Country Schools
          >
          >
          > I'm writing a fictional piece set in a one-room
          > school around election day, 1920. I understand
          > that many one-room schools were used as polling
          > places. Could any of you tell me whether
          > students would be likely to attend school on
          > election day, or would there be too many people
          > about? Would voting take place, typically, in the
          > schoolroom or the vestibule? Any thoughts
          > on this topic would be a great help. THANKS,
          > Gwenyth Swain, children's author.
          >
          >
          >
          >




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        • Fay Stone
          At McAuley School in western DuPAge County, IL, we had elections in our school every time there was one. We had a large full basement with two outside exits,
          Message 4 of 4 , Jan 25, 2007
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            At McAuley School in western DuPAge County, IL, we had elections in our school every time there was one. We had a large full basement with two outside exits, so the traffic did not disturb classes. It was our lunch room, so we had to eat at our desks that day.
             
            Our pupils were very aware of election time, and I always took advantage of the day to have the children visit and look at the specimen ballots, etc. It was a great time to talk about who was running for what offives, who could vote, when certain groups gained the right to vote, etc.
             
            The school was founded in 1835, and the law then was that 25 white male landowners had to petition the state for money and permission to start a school district. The master plan was to have schools no more than 3 miles apart for easy access to all children.
                                                                                                                        Fay Stone
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