Staff Stance: Importance of Voter Participation

There is a serious problem with priorities if we, as a student body, do not care enough to take a few minutes to vote on our representatives in Student Council. I know all Hockaday students are capable of opening a link and clicking on 10 or so names. Yes, we are busy with AP Exams, SPC, sports, extra-curricular activities and the stress of the Hockaday community in general, but let’s be real, everyone should be able to find two minutes of spare time to vote on the people who represent them.

For the second year, student council elections were held electronically via SurveyMonkey, a website which expedites the process and decreases the work needed to count each vote for polls. Even though getting results on the computer should be much faster and more efficient, The Fourcast believes this system has created more problems than good. Many girls noticed a lack of participation in the election process this year, as people didn’t check their email in time to submit their ballot and either forgot about or ignored the email.

When stressed, people, especially Hockaday students, tend to put things off without realizing their importance. We should feel strongly enough about the people representing us in our own council that we should want to vote, want to open that email the moment we get home, even if it means missing out on a moment of Facebook stalking or eating. Only if we vote can we feel confident about the people who are representing us.

At the same time, there could be an alternate way to hold the election process so that every girl is forced to vote. In Middle School, girls listened to the speeches then immediately went to their advisories and circled the names on a piece of paper. In a few hours, the girls who ran were notified and results were announced the next day. Everyone voted at the same time, so everyone’s vote counted.

With the SurveyMonkey, not every voice is heard. When the link is sent out after school gets out at 3:45 p.m., most girls are busy doing their after-school activity or in the middle of their sports practice. The polls closed around 9 p.m., excluding the votes of girls with late games and those who just didn’t check their email in time. With many rounds of important elections and run-offs, each vote is needed. However, this system didn’t really give all students the chance to have an input.

The administration could improve the system by reminding girls with more announcements or by sending out the SurveyMonkey as soon as the girls hear the speeches. If all students were told to bring their computers and vote immediately in the same room after listening to speeches, the voter participation would surely skyrocket.

Another incentive? Offer food. Not sure what the logistics would be, but it works every time.

It’s important that in future years, girls can recognize the importance of voting in the election. Likewise, Hockaday can also find a faster, more efficient and more inclusive way to handle the election process.

If we don’t take the time to vote now, the future isn’t looking too good for us to take the time out of our adult lives to vote in actual local and national elections that are so much more important on a large scale. We need to establish the values now of the importance of voter participation so that we are all prepared for the future.