Editorial: School elections call for modifications

The Voice of the Epic

The 2018-2019 ASB officer election season and the voting period for class officer elections have both come to an end. During each election process, a standard procedure has been established and refined by both administration and past ASB officers, including regulations such as allotting only ten pre-approved posters to be displayed throughout campus and administering run-offs between candidates when no candidate receives a majority of votes. In this year’s election season, however, there were some aspects that raised student concerns including the removal of the “no confidence” option, the inability to abstain from voting for certain positions and the lack of easy access to voting.

This year, the “no confidence” voting option was removed due to the negative culture it promoted and the desire to model Lynbrook’s election process off of real elections. Running for a position requires one to make their platform statements, create posters, write their speeches and persuade the student body that one is right for the position.

“It’s not easy to run for elections, and it takes a lot of time, energy and confidence,” said assistant principal Brooke Chan. “To have somebody go through the whole process of running for a position and then to tell them ‘sorry, you weren’t quite what we wanted or you weren’t good enough’ sets up a negative culture, and I’d rather promote more people to get involved for positions than say we didn’t really like our options.”

The no confidence ballot option has been used in previous officer elections before being taken out this year. While it is important to encourage students to be involved with Lynbrook’s student government, the no confidence choice gives students the opportunity to indicate if they believe a student is not suited for a particular role. A no confidence vote would also send a message to administration that a new candidate may be a better fit for the position. If more than 50 percent of a candidate’s votes are in no confidence, they would not receive the position. In the case that a candidate was running unopposed, other students who believe they are more qualified for the position are then able to apply. After new candidates present their platforms to the student body, the students would then vote again, similar to a runoff. In elections where candidates are running unopposed, the no confidence option would not only allow students to elect an alternate candidate, but also encourage the unopposed candidates to run a stronger campaign.

“I respect the logic of ‘you don’t want to want to vote people out, but rather vote people in,’” said sophomore Stephen Yang. “But, I feel that all candidates should be in good faith with the constituents.”

In order to have more fair and representative elections at Lynbrook, the option of abstaining from voting for certain positions should also be made available. This way, students can choose to vote only for positions where they are thoroughly informed about each candidate. Not having this choice to abstain leaves students little alternative other than to vote for positions without fully considering the different factors that qualify each candidate to be elected.

“There’s around only a week to campaign, and [while running for class office,] I was unable to campaign to 250 people per day,” said Yang. “People don’t personally know all the candidates whether through social media campaigning or in person.”

A lack of accessibility to voting was also a concern for many students. Some were unsure how to access their Infinite Campus portal, while others were confused by the multiple redirecting links in their emails. Displaying a “vote here” link on the LHS homepage leading to Infinite Campus would provide an easier way to reach the voting ballot. After ASB and class officer speeches, allotting time during third period classes would also encourage more students to participate in the election process.

“I tried voting on my phone but got confused when I clicked the wrong link through my email which made me relog in just to vote,” said junior Aditi Raja. “I think having it displayed on the Lynbrook homepage is a good idea and if possible on Schoolloop as a reminder as well.”

In this year’s ASB elections, only 50 percent of eligible students voted in ASB officer elections; 44 percent of students voted in the 2017-2018 class officer elections for the Class of 2018. To increase the proportion of voting students and make elections more representative of the student body’s opinions, students should be given a few minutes in their third period to vote if they wish to do so. Voting would not be mandated, but the common issues of forgetting to vote would not be an issue for students if reminded and given time to vote. Voting at home would still be possible for those without devices to vote in class, but the number of students voting would dramatically increase overall.

The election procedures for both ASB and class office have developed throughout the years with new reforms made by assistant principals, students and other staff, but some small details can still be introduced: the options of “no confidence,” abstaining while voting and easier accessibility to voting. Implementing these changes would result in a more fair election that is a better representation of the student body’s opinion as a whole.