Was it an Election or Popularity Contest?

—Dallin Howard

 

Erie High School has been missing a lot of student participation, and may lack support by the student body, not for just sports but all extracurricular activities in general. This election has decided the candidates for the 2017-2018. As the press corps, are supposed to research candidates and the factors influencing the voters. The key question here is “were the student elections a popularity contest or actually an election? Before asking around I was sure that it most certainly was a popularity contest, but after digging around you find a few people who vote for the people that aren’t really affected by popularity, however, only a select few I asked actually voted for someone they didn’t know much about. The voter turnout on the election seemed to be pretty high, but the astounding thing is how many freshmen decided to vote. Majority of them had decided to vote, instead of ignoring the poll booth. Before entering the poll booth, a freshman that I asked said that he was “only going to vote for the people that I know”. This is one of the reasons why the student elections seems to be more a popularity contest, than an actual election. The only way to persuade someone to vote for you, is if the voters don’t seem to know any of the running candidates. Only then the debates and speeches can sway people to get their votes.The only way it’s not a popularity contest is if you don’t know the candidates. When I asked a sophomore, who didn’t know the candidates, how he was voting he said he was voting for the “most realistic candidate, that isn’t going to bribe me.” When asked for more reasons he chose not to respond, however, he made his point clear that he was putting his vote in someone that he could possibly trust to do what he/she said he could do in the student government. When I interviewed a junior, I got another unbiased vote. Just before going to cast her vote the junior said, “I’m voting for Kaleb, because his speech was pretty cool, and he seemed to be a bit more responsible than all the other candidates that are against him.” Showing that he seemed to like Kaleb’s speech, and was persuaded to vote for him, but it seems that it’s still a popularity contest. I asked 37 people ‘is it a popularity contest or not?’ 32 said it was, no doubt the other 8 said, there’s a chance it’s not. But those are big numbers! 80% say it’s a contest, if that number holds through the school, there’s very little chance the less known candidates got elected.

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