By Lauren Olszaniecki
Richview’s 2021 SAC Elections were executed in a fairly entertaining, yet disappointing series of blunders. In fact, Richview may have ended up without an SAC this year, if not for the *rumoured* actions of one electoral candidate… Thankfully, though, our school administration was eventually able to run the vote… by Google Form.
First and foremost, I did not hear a single announcement or receive a single email explaining how I could have run for SAC myself. Had I known, I absolutely would have run for a position on our SAC, as I’m sure would have many other Richview students. I only became aware of the existence of elections until the board by the main office was already covered in candidate’s posters. My annoyance at this situation, however, dwindled quickly when I saw signs that led me to believe that one or more candidate’s posters had been edited by someone who was not a candidate themselves. I felt worried for the candidate. Had their chances been crushed by mischievous saboteurs? (In the end, no – they were elected anyway.)
Throughout the campaigning process, the candidates didn’t get a chance to present their promises to the student body as a whole. No time was allocated for debates, something that is essential to a properly executed election. Students never got a chance to see their candidates head-to-head. Campaigning thus took the form of lunch and break time conversations, social media accounts sprung up one after another, candidates wandered the halls and school grounds looking for photo opportunities with friends, supporters and random students alike.
Election Day arrived soon enough… it did not go too well.
To start, many students with morning spares were confused about how they could vote. How would they get the ballot without a teacher to send it to them? This issue was ignored and teachers were allegedly sent several different versions of the ballot as late as 8:44AM, worryingly close to the 9:00AM election start time. Students were sent the completely wrong link to an outdated ballot. However, it didn’t matter too much because the “correct” ballot was somehow worse.
Students were able to alter the ballot. Candidates’ names began to be removed – that’s when people started to realize something was wrong.
It gets worse, though: you could view who each student voted for.
Thanks to the settings of the Google Form, election security hit an all-time low.
Eventually, the Google Form was shut down and answers were erased. Richview’s Principal, Ms. Kletke, announced on the P.A. system that the ballot was invalid and that the election would be re-run that afternoon.
Richview students were abuzz during the lunch period before the election. Last-minute campaigning was in full swing as we ate, a general sense of uncertainty lingering in the air. Fortunately, the ballot sent out in the afternoon was much more secure than the morning’s.
By 2:40, the results were in! Ms. Kletke announced over the P.A. the names of the winners. But a crucial aspect of voting transparency was missing: what were the numbers? Voting results were not released last year, even after I put in an informal request on a Google Classroom comment. They haven’t been released this year, either. I admit, I slightly doubt the integrity of the vote counters, because there’s such a small number of people involved. Additionally, students might want to know how much of the school voted for a specific person and candidates might want to know how they did. As for the first point, I admit that students are definitely biased. As for each individual candidate, if you can’t internally handle the fact that you got only 5% of votes regardless of the reason, then that’ll stop you from engaging in politics as a candidate, same as candidates in elections outside Richview.
So, where do we stand? Well, we have a SAC that is the best of the best, according to voters’ choices as reported by Richview admin. Though this year has gotten off to a good start, with many clubs and intramurals in place for students, the democratic process could have had a better run.