This year’s SAC election is over. The ballots were cast – and then cast again. The votes were counted – and then counted again. And the results have been announced. But it’s hard to be satisfied. The election process was laughably executed and permeated with a general lack of care.
The mistakes started long before the voting even began. Ballots were prepared with two gross errors. Candidate Laxcika Satkunalingam’s name was misspelled as ‘Kaxcika’. This shows a complete disrespect for the candidates participating in the elections. As a rule of thumb, a simple proofread goes a long way before making over a thousand photocopies. Further, Parvii Dhirar’s name was included in the ballot, despite her prior intentions to drop out of the race. The votes for this position were thus rendered completely useless and a revote was conducted on 24 May 2013. SAC has has stated in its defence that Dhirar never made her intentions clear.
Things really began to fall apart on the morning of elections. SAC decided this year that only eleventh grade students would be allowed to vote for Grad Convenor. A fair choice; it makes sense. However, a number of votes were cast during lunchtime for which the students’ Grades were not verified.
SAC members made the rounds during early period to hand out ballots. This process should have been monitored and taken seriously. Instead some classes received more ballots than students due to absences and little effort was made to prevent multiple votes being cast by the same person. This issue only continued during spare where around 50 students checked in to vote, but around 150 ballots were collected. Something about those numbers doesn’t quite add up.
A revote was held for students with first period spare the Wednesday after elections. This time vice principals on duty checked off student voters and meticulously governed the voting. However, this effectively did nothing to fix the voting issues of the poorly monitored classroom votes. When faced with the mismanagement of this election the only option should have been a complete re-election. So far only half-hearted attempts at a solution have been made.
Not only is this unfair to the student body, but it shows a complete disregard for the tremendous efforts made by those campaigning. JiaRui Pu speaks on her experience as a member of SAC running for the position of president.
“It’s difficult to turn a blind eye when you hear people whispering about how they took advantage of the poorly-organized voting system. The system was flawed, unprofessional, and a complete disappointment on our student council’s part. As a SAC member, I was embarrassed and ashamed of the election process that was executed this year. The passion that candidates poured into their campaigns was unmatched. It is so disappointing to see all their hard work ruined and destroyed by the incompetencies of student council. I want to sincerely apologize to the student body for failing to provide a fair and worry-free election. ”
Another presidential candidate, Yanxiu Wu, stated: “I was disappointed, as a member of SAC, regarding some of the issues that were brought to my attention during the election,” and said that “there’s much to be learned from the past week.”
The democratic process has been completely compromised and it is disappointing. The results of the election are difficult to celebrate when it’s impossible to tell how they came about. The entire process should have been handled with the utmost care. After all, that’s why we elect our student council: to care. In this they have failed.
EDIT – 26 May: The article has been modified to reflect that SAC was allegedly not informed of Parvii Dhirar’s intention to drop out of the election; that ballot illegitimacy for the position of Grad Convenor was restricted to those who voted at lunchtime; and that SAC made the decision to redo the Grad Convener votes.