Try 3 months for $3

It's a depressing-as-hell comment on people whose job it is to collect and count ballots: Leaders of the New York City Board of Elections always hope for low turnout, because they simply can't handle large number of voters coming out to exercise the franchise.

Which is why when New Yorkers, bless them, turned out in droves for Tuesday's midterm election, the system broke down at polling place after polling place.

Scanning machines jammed and were taken offline for hours, apparently because some ballots had a little water on them.

Paper poll books, as usual, dragged out the check-in process.

The two-page ballot, necessitated by stupid ballot questions and stupid judicial elections, meant twice as much paper for the scanners to scan. (Newsflash: An eight-year-old device designed solely to scan paper can't do it consistently.) Expect an even bigger mess when the machines' warranty expires in 2020, just when the next presidential election comes around.

It's all par for the course from the boss-run patronage pit, where borough party chiefs pick the commissioners.

This terrible status quo persists even as New York's supposedly enlightened citizens tsk-tsk about electoral dysfunction and shenanigans in Georgia, Kansas, Wisconsin and other states. Shame on us.

The state Legislature must dismantle and rebuild the city's Board of Elections.

And it can wait no longer to offer in the Empire State what is already law of the land in 37 states: early voting.

It's egregiously undemocratic that single parents, people working hourly wages and any number of other would-be voters who have a hard time getting to the polls on a Tuesday have no other way to cast a ballot. Especially when Election Day snafus throw wrenches in the works.

Fix it. Fix it now.

— The Daily News, New York

We like to think that elections can make a difference, that listening to candidates explain their approach to issues can guide us to vote for those who will work toward solutions.

In this region there is no more prevalent issue than the burden of property taxes. A day on the campaign trail does not pass without a candidate or voter or more likely both noting that New York is steadily losing population, a claim easily verified as factual by consulting Census records, and that the state's is among those with the highest taxes, a fact also verified by Census records. Anybody who has paid taxes each January and September can compare the bills and verify that schools are responsible for the largest proportion.

So as campaign issues go, this is one of the rare ones where the facts match the opinions.

How about solutions?

Nobody is promising to spend less on education and most voters are not pushing in that direction either. What both participants, candidate and voter alike, seem to want is an approach that would be more "fair" and that is where the discussion often seems to stop.

If taxing someone based on the value of their property is unfair, then you might think that taxing someone on the amount of money they earn would be fairer. However, any candidate willing to make such a proposal will quickly be attacked for raising taxes, even if those that go up would be balanced by those that go down.

So we pretend to talk about solutions while the rhetoric of campaigning rules out most of them.

Add to those impasses the perpetual clash between urban and rural schools, large and small districts, those in prosperous areas and those with greater needs and we have overlapping conversations with little hope for progress.

This should be the subject of a statewide effort, one that would try to make schools more efficient and ensure truly equal opportunity, including such notions as access to both advanced courses and remedial help to improve graduation rates. But any statewide effort would run into the most sacred of all beliefs concerning education — local control.

Nowhere does that show up better than in the schools serving Tuxedo where sentiment opposing any future merger or combination has produced a district with 235 students, only 63 in the high school and a per-pupil spending cost of $56,090, more than double those in most other local districts.

That is what local control can bring, unchecked costs and limited opportunities for students. And while Tuxedo is an extreme example, it provides a warning for all those other districts where costs continue to rise and enrollments continue to drop.

— The Times Herald-Record, Middletown

School bus drivers must watch in shock, fear and anger as motorists ignore flashing red lights and extended stop sign arms to pass buses. It happens frequently, despite law enforcement agencies' focused attempts to stop it.

That puts children at great risk as they cross streets and highways, either to get on buses or as they disembark to go home.

Last week, five American children were killed by motorists.

Three siblings — a 9-year-old girl and her twin 6-year-old brothers — were killed when they were struck by a pickup truck near Rochester, Indiana. The children were crossing the road to get on their school bus, which was stopped with red lights flashing and a stop sign displayed.

A 24-year-old woman who was driving the truck has been arrested. She insists she just didn't notice the bus.

A similar situation occurred in Baldwyn, Mississippi. A 9-year-old boy died.

And in Franklin Township, Pennsylvania, a 7-year-old boy was killed at his school bus stop by a hit-and-run driver.

All five children died because drivers did not care enough for children to slow down just a little and watch for stopped school buses and/or children on streets and highways.

Please, pay enough attention that when a big, yellow school bus with flashing red lights and a stop sign is on the road in front of you, you see it.

— The Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Saranac Lake

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.