Tuning up Shalhevet elections


Leona Fallas, Photo Editor

VOTING: Junior Shimmy Weinbach votes in a school election during lunch.

By By the Boiling Point Editorial Board

Did you vote in our last school election? Do you know what was voted on and whether it passed?

Yes, because the last election was held last week in Town Hall itself, with written paper ballots distributed moments after a brief discussion of the issue at hand. Before that, the last election had been Jan. 14, concerning a proposed new structure for the Agenda Committee.  And if you didn’t vote or didn’t know, you aren’t alone.

Starting with last June’s 13 uncontested officer “elections,” there have been a variety of problems with voting, and all of them need to be solved to put the “Shalhevet” back in “Shalhevet elections.”

First of all, voter turnout has been descending because the usual procedure lacks the necessary encouragement of students to vote and convenient polling places to spark the involvement of students.  There is not as much hype about the elections as there used to be, so students tend not to know when elections are going to be held. Upcoming ballot measure elections are usually just mentioned off-hand at the end of Town Hall and then ignored. In order to get more student participation, election officials need to take publicizing elections more seriously.

Second, students don’t vote because of a lack of information regarding the election itself. At Town Hall, too much discussion time is spent on minute aspects of the proposal. Usually by the time the community leaves Town Hall, they’ve forgotten the proposal’s details.

This problem was partially solved by having the voting take place in Town Hall itself.  However, this problem could be completely eradicated if Agenda started posting the proposal around the school the same way they sometimes post upcoming Town Hall topics. There should be as much hype surrounding policy change as there is about the controversial and interesting discussions that often take place in Town Hall. After all, we are busy students and we forget things…sometimes.

Finally, as The Boiling Point has said before, Agenda needs to adopt a more open policy about the times that processing and counting the ballots will occur to better manage the results. The community discussed a proposal last year that suggested that all forms of school media are entitled to be present at the counting of ballots. However, this newspaper has yet to be notified of the date and time of any ballot counting this school year. Agenda should be formally required to hold scheduled ballot counting to maintain – or perhaps restore — the community’s confidence in election results.

As part of the just community it’s our job to vote, but that right shouldn’t be infringed upon by poor planning and a lack of voter knowledge. A better system leads to a better community.