Student Government Elections Could Be Changing

The current election process for Student Government is up for debate.

Taylor Patton

At Copper Hills High School, the student government elections are 100% popular vote, meaning the student body gets the power to decide who will be on student government, but that may be changing soon. This year, 2023, student government elections take place in late March and could potentially be very different from last year. 

Meg Young, the current student body president, is one of the most vocal advocates for a change in the election process. She has gone through the current process, and doesn’t agree with it even though she won through it. Happy she won, Meg still thinks that the process is unfair to those who aren’t popular.  Besides the popular vote, “there is one day where you can come in for an informational meeting, and there you’re given papers,” said Young, “the first one is where your parents sign off and then you have to go to the registrar and show that your GPA is higher than a 3.0.” To run for student government, a student needs only two requirements: a parent signature and the United States’ average GPA. Some people view that as the bare minimum. Young continued, “Then you bring in the declaration papers, and declare what you run for. The following two weeks are elections with primaries and secondaries.” After announcing what position a student wants to run for, they have multiple weeks to uphold their campaign and gain the needed votes. Primary elections refer to the beginning of the elections where everyone who wants to run is involved. Secondary elections, also known as finals, are where the final two people for each position go head to head, very similar to presidential elections. 

Evelyn Marler, a sophomore, plans to run for Junior Vice President in the upcoming election. “I’m excited for the running process to get more involved and get to know more people,” she said. She thinks the current election process is ideal for a successful government. “[The election] has the teachers choose good kids and then the students get to have a say as well,” she stated. Once a student declares they are running, they get a teacher recommendation, and then there is a popular vote. Since the process was first introduced as teachers and students getting a voice in the result, it has worked well. Why change it when it has produced such strong results? Marler believes it is a fair process that allows teachers and students to agree on a victorious group of kids for student government. 

Angela Beatty, a math teacher and a student government advisor at CHHS, thinks the current process is not as effective as it could be. “I would like teachers to have a little bit more input on their behavior in class, because that helps us see how they’re gonna be as an officer,” she said, “We only see popularity vote and I don’t, obviously, think that’s the best indication of a good student government person.” 

Young is commending change in the requirements for student government candidates. As we know, to win a spot on the student government, there is one requirement: a lot of friends. The natural response as a teenager is to support and help your friends. “I don’t think it should be 100% popular vote. I think that other kids should be given the chance because there are nearly 3,000 kids in our school and there’s tons of talent and incredible leadership skills throughout the school,” Young said. She thinks that there are people at CHHS that have the ability and skills to be on student government, but they feel discouraged to run because they don’t have the numbers to win. She feels that there are better candidates for student government who aren’t as popular, but more reliant than others. “It’s just that if you don’t have the friends, then you won’t be voted in,” she stated. Young believes that this process is disapproving towards students that are more than qualified and able to be a part of student government. 

Mrs. Beatty agrees with Young, “I think we want to be in student government because we want a sweater, but we don’t always know what it entails.” She wants students to fully understand what kind of commitment they are making for the entire year. She also wants students to be more informed about what is included in the commitment like giving up all of December and part of November for Paws for a Cause. 

Marler disagrees with Young and Mrs. Beatty, and thinks that the change is not needed. “I don’t think [change] would be as good.” She is willing to accept the change, but doesn’t think it is necessary to achieve an adequate government. 

Young is working hard to get the election process changed. Her thought process is that there should be more requirements to even run for student government. “A couple things I’m adding to our current election is to have teacher recommendations from all eight of your teachers,” Young said. In the event that a student doesn’t have eight classes, they must show proof that they have less than the full eight classes. “The second [requirement] is a portfolio,” she said. For example, if someone wants to run for historian, they should have a portfolio with pictures they have taken or proof of how good they are with social media. “[The] last thing is being interviewed and just making sure that they’re a good person,” Young said. Apparently, last year, there were teachers expressing their opinion about the student body officers after they were elected. Young is trying to prevent complaints after the election, and would prefer them before a person was elected. 

“I hope more people run this year and aren’t so intimidated by the ‘oh it’s a popularity contest’ because I think government should be more diverse and not just kids that are super popular,” Young said, “it helps that we’re the face of the school, but the face of the school should be kids who can be trusted and have good leadership skills.” 

Mrs Beatty says, “If you want to be in student government, you should just put yourself out there and see what happens.” Popularity is not the only thing that matters; there will be a process that will help determine if a student is qualified enough to be a student body officer.