Student elections are undoubtedly the fairest way to determine class officers. However, the Diamond Bar High School voting system brings to question whether or not voters are adequately informed to choose the best candidate for the job.
First of all, the candidates are not given enough opportunities to present their views. Sure, maybe our Instagram feeds are flooded with campaign ads, or DBHS hallways are littered with posters, but these advertisements often say very little beyond “I’m the best candidate” in the form of a pun.
The best chance for candidates to talk about their platforms is through their campaign speeches, given at lunch. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of students actually hear these speeches, and very few go out of their way to attend.
An easy fix to this would be to use a different mean of sharing these speeches, such as giving them through the intercom. Speeches could also be recorded and posted online so those who are not able to attend can still view them.
Another way to better inform voters would be to have candidates write out specific points as to what they want to accomplish in their time in office, as well as a brief profile on their qualifications. This information could then be posted to the school website.
It is also difficult for voters to adequately determine who are the most qualified candidates as many do not have a clear understanding of the specific qualifications for each position. The roles of each position are listed on the class officer application, but this application is not usually seen by the voting population.
A quick search on the school website reveals little more than a class officer application dating back to 2010. It would be beneficial for the duties of each position to be made more easily accessible to the student body, possibly by putting them on the school website or on the actual voting form.
In the current system, student elections are a matter of who has the most eye-catching posters, the most social media posts or just their sheer popularity. This is unfortunate for students who may be extremely qualified, but simply do not know as many people.
While it is not guaranteed that the patterns of student elections would change even if information were more readily available, a stronger attempt can still be made to ensure that students know exactly who and what they are voting for.