Just Community officer elections set for Friday after Agenda Chair debate
Rami Melmed and Zion Schlussel face off for Agenda Chair; other candidates will compete with videos and speeches. UPDATED with election results at end of story.
UPDATED MAY 3: Rami Melmed has won the election for Agenda Chair. See results of all JC elections at the bottom of this story.
Election flyers and posters have been on display throughout school this week and last as the first round of elections for the 2023-24 school year commences, with candidates for Just Community officer positions planning speeches, videos and a debate tomorrow at a 100-minute school-wide assembly.
The assembly will run from 10:20 until noon in the gym. Immediately after it is over, students will vote through Google Forms using a ranked choice voting system, where voters rank each candidate in order of preference as either first choice, second choice, third choice and so on depending on the number of people running.
There are several different types of ranked-choice voting systems, the most common being one that counts the second-place votes of voters whose candidate gets the least first-place votes, adding them to the first-choice votes of their second-choice candidate. That is not the system Shalhevet has used, however.
Shalhevet uses a ranked-choice “point” system, which was established in 2019, with points allotted by multiplying the number of votes each candidate received for first, second, third and so on depending on the number of candidates. The higher the place the higher the number, so a candidate with 10 first-place votes would receive more points for them than a candidate with 10 second-place votes.
Whichever candidate receives the most votes in totality wins. So if three people are running, first place votes are counted as three points,
second place as two, and third place as one. Whoever receives the most total points among first, second and third wins.
Leaders of the Fairness Committee – which organizes elections under the revised Just Community Constitution passed in 2020 – said that problems with ranked-choice ballots during last fall’s representative elections would not be repeated. At that time, some Google Form ballots allowed voters to rank multiple candidates the same, discounting their vote since they were evenly adding the same weight to every candidate, possibly affecting the outcome of the election.
Fairness Co-Chair Eliana Kerendian said the Elections Subcommittee – made up of herself,
fellow Co-Chair Elliot Serure, and Faculty Advisor Dr. Keith Harris – worked on the ballots last night and that Dr. Harris would check them again.
“We both already looked over it to make sure it was all correct, but Dr. Harris will look over it again tomorrow,” Eliana said.
“God forbid if that were to happen [again], we would correct it and send a new form. But I don’t think it’s gonna happen because Elliot and I sat for like 30 minutes last night making everything and making sure everything was okay.”
Both positions that have two winners – SAC and Fairness co-chairs – are uncontested.
Under this year’s rules, candidates for the Fairness Committee must make a speech, while those running for the Student Activities Committee (SAC) offices can present a speech or a video.
Candidates for Agenda offices will make speeches as well, except for the three running for Agenda Chair, who will participate in a debate moderated by the Boiling Point co-Editors in Chief Benjamin Gamson and Tali Libethal. Candidate sign-ups closed Tuesday night, April 25.
The Election Subcommittee will count ballots right after school with Boiling Point observers in attendance. The Elections Subcommittee is comprised of the Fairness Chairs and Faculty Advisor.
Additionally, in the Preamble to the Just Community Constitution, in the Elections section, it states “The Elections Subcommittee shall inform the Just Community about election and voting protocol at least 14 days before the corresponding election date.” However, being that elections are being held on April 28, and the elections were first announced on April 18, students only had 11 days.
Eliana says that elections had to be this week though, because of conflicts with the SAS Civil War Trip to the East Coast, set for April 29 – May 4 and led by Dr. Harris.
“The date we got back from Pesach break we discussed potential meeting times and [Dr.] Harris was like, ‘Well the last week that you guys could do it … we won’t be here because we’ll be in Gettysburg, and I hadn’t known that before,’” Eliana said “So we were just like we have to do it now.”
She said the amount of time given for the process “was enough time for whoever wanted to think about running could run.”
Meanwhile, there is also a new Fairness Committee position, which was established by a vote April 19: a student litigator to assist or speak on behalf of a plaintiff in the event a case is brought anonymously.
This elected office requires the entire Just Community to vote, as in spring officer elections. But this year it will be held in the fall during Just Community representative elections.
“We didn’t know if it would pass or not and there was a deadline, and the elections just came super quick this year,” Eliana said.
UPDATED MAY 3: Here are the election results, posted at 1 p.m. last Friday by Fairness Co-Chair Elliot Serure.
Agenda Chair: Rami Melmed defeated Zion Schlussel
Agenda Vice Chair: Mateo Robinson defeated Olivia Petlak and Leah Cohen
Agenda Secretary: Ari Elad defeated Eliana Vahedifar and Etan Lerner
Fairness Chairs: Sami Brous-Light and Malia Nagel ran uncontested and will serve
Fairness Secretary: Tamar Rose defeated Ariel Mazar
SAC Chairs: Adi Libenthal and Atara Cohen ran uncontested and will serve
SAC Vice Chair: Yakov Liberman defeated Shevy Gomperts and Dana Brodt
SAC Secretary: Mikayla Namvar ran uncontested and will serve