DOVER — Residents in two Kent County and four Sussex County school districts can vote in contested school board elections Tuesday.
While such elections typically see very poor turnout — less than 1,000 votes per seat — school boards have a pivotal role in charting a district’s course. School board members, who serve five-year terms, work with district staff and the state Department of Education to help direct and implement educational policy and have a say in local property tax rates.
Other than the Indian River School District, which has no one on the ballot this year, all nonvocational/technical Downstate districts have elections scheduled Tuesday. Four of them, however, are uncontested, with candidates in Seaford, Milford, Caesar Rodney and Capital school districts certain to be elected.
The Delmar School District is the only one with multiple races and one of two districts with three candidates for one seat. Incumbent Dawn M. Turner squares off against Russell Smart, while board President Farrah Morelli tries to hold off Carol Ann Harrington and Lawrence Sinagra.
The Laurel School District also features three choices for voters, as David B. Nichols, Ivy T. Bonk and Joseph Deiter fight for a single seat.
In the Cape Henlopen School District, incumbent Janis P. Hanwell and challenger Ashley Murray vie for election, while the Woodbridge School District will see incumbent Danielle Taylor seek reelection against Margaret “Elaine” Gallant.
In the Lake Forest School District, board President Earle Dempsey battles Camuron Young, and in the Smyrna School District, Diane Eastburn and Charlie D. Wilson are on the ballot.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. statewide. Each district has several designated polling places for voters. Face masks are strongly recommended and may be required at some locations.
Unlike most elections, in school board contests, individuals do not have to be registered voters to take part. Anyone who is an American citizen, an adult and a resident of the school district in which they are voting is eligible. Identification is required.