Ballot errors complicate voting for Just Community grade-level reps

Wifi problems interfere with solutions as students vote for representatives to Fairness, Agenda and SAC. Elections Subcommittee to meet during lunch today.


Technical difficulties created delays and confusion during Just Community Representative elections yesterday, with some grades needing to revote and some students possibly not having their votes counted.

In addition, Fairness Co-Chair Eliana Kerendian said last minute candidate entries were accidentally left off the ballots, as well as last-minute withdrawals, and Wifi problems prevented the online ballots from being immediately corrected.

There were also issues with the ballot pages themselves, which since the end of 2019, have used rank-choice tallying programs.

Ranked-choice voting asks voters to rank candidates by first choice, second choice and so on. But yesterday, voters in the freshman, junior and senior classes could give more than one candidate each rank.

If people were to rank multiple candidates in the same choice column, it would discount their vote, since they were evenly adding the same weight to every candidate.

This could also affect the outcome of the election if someone voted for one candidate in first place and everyone else in last.

For juniors and seniors, at least, the Fairness Committee tried to create new ballots, but Wifi got in the way.  Wireless internet access has been generally unavailable at school this week while the GottIT tech team troubleshoots stubborn connectivity problems.

“Junior and seniors could put two people as their first choice,” Eliana said. “We created a new form and the new link that was sent out is the one we are using to collect responses and when we sent it out it had zero responses – we started fresh and clean.”

Sophomore ballots were unaffected and went smoothly. However, the freshman form had the same problem, and it was not replaced or resent.

Eliana said Fairness’s Elections Subcommittee would look into the issue and she was confident that under the leadership of Fairness Committee Advisor Dr. Keith Harris, a solution would be found.

“Dr. Harris is the most fair person I know and he would not let this slide,” Eliana said.

The Elections Subcommittee is composed of the two Fairness chairs and the faculty advisor to the Fairness Committee.

As of yesterday, it planned to meet today during lunch to go through votes and tally the winners. Originally, the results were meant to be published after lunch today.

Elections for officer positions were held last spring, with representative elections first being announced at Town Hall on Aug. 31. The form to sign up was posted on Schoology the next day.

Students could sign up to run for representative in any branch: the Student Activities Committee, which runs spirit activities including Color War; the Agenda Committee, which sets the agenda for Town Hall and decides how to present the various topics, as well as facilitating the proposal process; and the Fairness Committee, which resolves cases between members of the Just Community, examines legislative petitions, and runs Just Community elections.

Candidates presented speeches in front of their grades, which met separately. Freshmen and sophomores met in large classrooms on the third floor, while juniors met in the gym and seniors in the theater.

Candidates for 10th-, 11th- and 12-grade SAC Representatives ran uncontested, as did representatives for 10th grade on Agenda, and ninth and 11th grade on Fairness.

This year, Tali Liebenthal, Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Boiling Point, ran for Agenda representative in the 11th grade. This was allowed due to a change in the paper’s conflict of interest policy made by The Boiling Point Editorial Board on Sept. 7.

Until then, the policy prevented EICs from holding any position on Agenda, but the Editorial Board voted 6-4 to change the policy and allow them to run for grade-level Agenda reps.

The policy had not yet been updated on the Boiling Point’s website as of this morning.


This story originally appeared in The Boiling Point on Sept. 15, 2022.