By: Aaron Faier, Editor-in-Chief*
Payton’s Student Government introduced new election procedures on February 9th and took a final vote on them February 10th. These procedures include a new Election Committee, new campaign rules, changes to thes procedure for the election of the freshman class chair, and a change to the voting procedure for Executive Board elections.
According to the new rules, an election committee will be formed consisting of the President, club sponsor, currently Dr. Russell, and at least four other graduating seniors so as to reduce bias on the committee. This committee will be in charge of election logistics, and will also be responsible for posting election results, making official statements regarding elections, enforcing the election rules, and investigating election complaints.
There will also be new rules regarding campaigning including posting campaign materials and soliciting votes. Campaign materials will now have to be approved by the faculty sponsor of Student Government, as well as by the Principal or by the administrator the Principal designates this role to, and will have to be taken down soon after the election. Soliciting votes with food, etc. will also now be banned. Procedures were also codified regarding the timing of freshman elections and the election of the freshman grade chair.
The most debated change has to do with the way grade chairs and executive board members will be elected. Under the previous formula, which was instituted for the 2020-2021 school year, student body votes counted for half of the total vote, with the other half coming from Student Government members. The formula worked as such: If a candidate received 50% of the Student government vote and 75% of the student vote, both numbers would be halved then added together, so this candidate would receive a total of 62.5% of the vote. The thinking behind this procedure was that Student Government representatives know which of their fellow representatives best show good work ethic and leadership during Student Government meetings.
The new formula, on the other hand, is a direct popular vote. The idea is that a popular vote would make sure that Student Government members and the student body engage more with each other, and that Student Government is as representative of the student body as possible. During the Wednesday debate it appeared that the new formula mainly had the support of seniors, while the 50-50 formula had support from lowerclassmen.
Also amended was the time ballots would be open for voting. The voting window has changed from one school day to one week, 3:30 Wednesday to 3:30 Wednesday, and is effective starting with the upcoming freshman chair elections. The new procedures continue to require executive board candidates and grade chairs to give speeches and answer questions in a LSC-style town hall before the election opens. Candidates’ speeches will now be recorded and sent out to the whole school the Monday before voting begins to give people the chance to watch the speeches before voting.
While the proposals for an election committee, methods of campaigning for students, and freshman elections passed nearly unanimously, Student Government representatives were closely divided on which voting procedure to approve. After an hour of debate on Wednesday with apparent deadlock, the final vote was a close 14-12 with one abstention.
Notably, the voting procedure was quite unconventional. Instead of the usual combinations of voice voting and hand-raise voting, this vote was conducted via Google Form. People wishing to see which representative voted for which procedure are still able to access that information, though.
*The author is a member of Student Government.