The practice of voting in high schools first started in 1972 with the passing of Title III of The Voting Rights Act. The act was passed to correct the systemic disenfranchisement of black voters in the South, in part by removing impediments such as literacy tests and poll taxes. One of the main tools that the Act provided for combating these historic impositions was the use of public school buildings as civil polling sites. This was seen as an excellent way to provide safe and accessible locations for different populations , and it was seen as an important step in addressing the disparity between white and black voter turnout.
The trend of using public schools as polling places then spread beyond the areas where Title III was enacted. The combination of large, conveniently located buildings and spacious areas for voting booths was seen as a great way to expedite the voting process . During the 1990s, the practice of using high schools as polling places spread further as the internet and direct mail started to be used to notify registered voters of their polling locations.
Today, high schools are one of the most common locations where people can go to vote. They provide an accessible, convienient, and secured enviroment for voters to cast their ballots. And by providing an air conditioned and well lit, high school buildings are equipped to be able to handle potentially large numbers of voters on election day. High schools also provide parking and many are handicap accessible, making them an ideal place for in-person voting.
High schools are also used as polling places because of their connection to the wider community. A common voter education effort is holding mock elections in high schools leading up to a major election. This helps to familiarize many non-voters with the voting process and can also encourage young people to become more informed and involved with their own government.
Overall, using high schools as polling places for major elections is an efficient and sensible approach to creating a better public voting system for all citizens. It ensures an accessible and convenient voting experience for citizens of all ages, races and religions.