Another failed election, another reason for change

Emilie Benyowitz, BP Staff

The BP Editorial Board

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Well it was here and now it’s gone: another chance for the Agenda Committee to manage a functional election that produces accurate, clear and timely results.

The Boiling Point posted three separate items on this website last week announcing that elections would be held “tomorrow,” once for each time elections were scheduled and rescheduled.

Then, after the election was finally held on Thursday, freshman results were delayed because a candidate had won a seat on two committees. How was she on two ballots if that isn’t allowed? And who says it isn’t allowed? Not the school constitution, which is silent on the issue.

Meanwhile, the ballots for an entire grade had to be thrown out because 12 more ballots were turned in than students in that class.

And as the community voted on three competing new bell schedules, two of the students who had proposed them were running voting booths. One voter said he saw a proposer glancing over ballots before submitting them to the ballot box. Whether or not this is true, the student should not have been running an election on his own proposal.

By the way, what was the community even voting on? Was the schedule vote advisory or binding? Mr. Tranchi had said it was advisory, but when asked in the foyer during the balloting, the Agenda Chair himself said: “I don’t even know what this vote means.”

We are sympathetic to the competing demands on the time and attention of those who run our school democracy. As Shalhevet students ourselves, we know that it is difficult balance our demanding extra curriculars with our schoolwork. The Agenda Committee is not a paid full-time government group; they’re students. Busy Students at that. Moreover, there’s turnover on Agenda just as there is on the volleyball team, the debate team, in drama and on the newspaper.

The high voter turnout at the Oct. 15 elections probably caught Agenda by surprise. Some sophomore ballots were submitted in handwriting because there were not enough to go around, and then when more were printed, some may have voted twice to make sure they’d submitted something that would be counted. That may account for the fact that there were 12 more ballots cast for sophomore representatives than there are students in the class.

Agenda will soon have another chance to do elections properly. At Town Hall last Friday, it was determined that a written ballot would be needed to ratify Mr. Buckley’s constitutional amendment to change the minimum votes required for ratification of future amendments. Additionally, the 10th grade needs a revote in its representative election. Also, Fairness needs to elect a new secretary.

Time out. Before the school goes ahead with this new election, stop and think. How can Agenda fix these election issues? It’s really only a few simple steps that are needed.

  • More poll workers.
  • More clarification as to what a ballot vote indicates.
  • Set election dates, and more advance notice. Elections should not be unannounced or scraped together at the last moment.
  • And finally, maybe the school needs a new Elections Committee, made up of members who do not participate in other student government committees. The job is obviously harder than it looks and needs more attention than Agenda members have been able to give it. This Elections Committee would be responsible for planning and running elections for the other committees and on Town Hall proposals.

The new committee could be formed by amendment to the constitution, or perhaps just appointed by the Agenda Committee itself, requiring no constitutional change. Either way, relieving Agenda of the burden of running elections would allow it to focus on its other goal – strengthening and improving the school’s structure — instead of undermining student confidence in the structure by holding elections that are confusing, poorly planned and unfair.

Well it was here and now it’s gone: another chance for the Agenda Committee to manage a functional election that produces accurate, clear and timely results.

*The Boiling Point* posted three separate items on its website last week announcing that elections would be held “tomorrow,” once for each time elections were scheduled and rescheduled.

Then, after the election was finally held on Thursday, freshman results were delayed because a candidate had won a seat on two committees. How was she on two ballots if that isn’t allowed? And who says it isn’t allowed? Not the school constitution, which is silent on the issue.

Meanwhile, the ballots for an entire grade had to be thrown out because 12 more ballots were turned in than students in that class.

And as the community voted on three competing new bell schedules, two of the students who had proposed them were running voting booths. One voter told *The Boiling Point* he saw a proposer glancing over ballots before submitting them to the ballot box. Whether or not this is true, the student should not have been running an election on his own proposal.

By the way, what was the community even voting on? Was the schedule vote advisory or binding? Mr. Tranchi had said it was advisory, but when asked in the foyer during the balloting, the Agenda Chair himself said: “I don’t even know what this vote means.”

We are sympathetic to the competing demands on the time and attention of those who run our school democracy. As Shalhevet students ourselves, we know that it is difficult balance our demanding extra curriculars with our schoolwork. The Agenda Committee is not a paid full-time government group; they’re students. Busy Students at that. Moreover, there’s turnover on Agenda just as there is on the volleyball team, the debate team, in drama and on *The Boiling Point.*

The high voter turnout at the Oct. 15 elections probably caught Agenda by surprise. Some sophomore ballots were submitted in handwriting because there were not enough to go around, and then when more were printed, some may have voted twice to make sure they’d submitted something that would be counted. That may account for the fact that there were 12 more ballots cast for sophomore representatives than there are students in the class.

Agenda will soon have another chance to do elections properly. At Town Hall last Friday, it was determined that a written ballot would be needed to ratify Mr. Buckley’s constitutional amendment to change the minimum votes required for ratification of future amendments. Additionally, the 10th grade needs a revote in its representative election. Also, Fairness needs to elect a new secretary.

Time out. Before the school goes ahead with this new election, stop and think. How can Agenda fix these election issues? It’s really only a few simple steps that are needed.

· More poll workers.

· More clarification as to what a ballot vote indicates.

· Set election dates, and more advance notice. Elections should not be unannounced or scraped together at the last moment.

· And finally, maybe the school needs a new Elections Committee, made up of members who do not participate in other student government committees. The job is obviously harder than it looks and needs more attention than Agenda members have been able to give it. This Elections committee would be responsible for planning and running elections for the other committees and on Town Hall proposals.

The new committee could be formed by amend

Well it was here and now it’s gone: another chance for the Agenda Committee to manage a functional election that produces accurate, clear and timely results.

*The Boiling Point* posted three separate items on its website last week announcing that elections would be held “tomorrow,” once for each time elections were scheduled and rescheduled.

Then, after the election was finally held on Thursday, freshman results were delayed because a candidate had won a seat on two committees. How was she on two ballots if that isn’t allowed? And who says it isn’t allowed? Not the school constitution, which is silent on the issue.

Meanwhile, the ballots for an entire grade had to be thrown out because 12 more ballots were turned in than students in that class.

And as the community voted on three competing new bell schedules, two of the students who had proposed them were running voting booths. One voter told *The Boiling Point* he saw a proposer glancing over ballots before submitting them to the ballot box. Whether or not this is true, the student should not have been running an election on his own proposal.

By the way, what was the community even voting on? Was the schedule vote advisory or binding? Mr. Tranchi had said it was advisory, but when asked in the foyer during the balloting, the Agenda Chair himself said: “I don’t even know what this vote means.”

We are sympathetic to the competing demands on the time and attention of those who run our school democracy. As Shalhevet students ourselves, we know that it is difficult balance our demanding extra curriculars with our schoolwork. The Agenda Committee is not a paid full-time government group; they’re students. Busy Students at that. Moreover, there’s turnover on Agenda just as there is on the volleyball team, the debate team, in drama and on *The Boiling Point.*

The high voter turnout at the Oct. 15 elections probably caught Agenda by surprise. Some sophomore ballots were submitted in handwriting because there were not enough to go around, and then when more were printed, some may have voted twice to make sure they’d submitted something that would be counted. That may account for the fact that there were 12 more ballots cast for sophomore representatives than there are students in the class.

Agenda will soon have another chance to do elections properly. At Town Hall last Friday, it was determined that a written ballot would be needed to ratify Mr. Buckley’s constitutional amendment to change the minimum votes required for ratification of future amendments. Additionally, the 10th grade needs a revote in its representative election. Also, Fairness needs to elect a new secretary.

Time out. Before the school goes ahead with this new election, stop and think. How can Agenda fix these election issues? It’s really only a few simple steps that are needed.

· More poll workers.

· More clarification as to what a ballot vote indicates.

· Set election dates, and more advance notice. Elections should not be unannounced or scraped together at the last moment.

· And finally, maybe the school needs a new Elections Committee, made up of members who do not participate in other student government committees. The job is obviously harder than it looks and needs more attention than Agenda members have been able to give it. This Elections committee would be responsible for planning and running elections for the other committees and on Town Hall proposals.

The new committee could be formed by amendment to the constitution, or perhaps just appointed by the Agenda Committee itself, requiring no constitutional change. Either way, relieving Agenda of the burden of running elections would allow it to focus on its other goal – strengthening and improving the school’s structure — instead of undermining student confidence in the structure by holding elections that are confusing, poorly planned and unfair.

ment to the constitution, or perhaps just appointed by the Agenda Committee itself, requiring no constitutional change. Either way, relieving Agenda of the burden of running elections would allow it to focus on its other goal – strengthening and improving the school’s structure — instead of undermining student confidence in the structure by holding elections that are confusing, poorly planned and unfair.

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