It's no secret that the more people who vote, the better democracy works. Yet in the United States, voter turnout is disturbingly low–only about 55% of eligible voters cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election.
One way to encourage more people to vote is to ensure that they are prepared and knowledgeable about the voting process. This is especially important for young people, who are the future of democracy. There are a few things that teachers and educators can do to prepare students for voting, and the most effective of these is to make voting for schools as organized and professional as possible.
Whether you're trying to elect the new school president or conducting a mock election so students can have a feel for democracy, the following steps will help you throughout the process.
There are six important steps for preparing students for voting–these include preparing for school elections on an organizational level, sending out the call for nominations, shortlisting appropriate candidates, allowing time for campaigning, conducting elections using an online voting system, and publishing results as soon as possible.
The first step in preparing students for voting is to ensure that school elections are well-organized. This means having a clear plan and timeline for the elections, as well as ensuring all the necessary materials are ready.
The school election timeline should be designed so there is enough time for all the steps to be completed. For example, if you're electing a school president, the timeline might look something like this:
You'll also need to create an organizing committee, which will consist of three or four teachers responsible for overseeing the elections to their completion.
The next step is to send out a call for nominations. This can be done through school announcements, posters, or emails sent to students and parents. It's important to be clear about who can run for office–for example, if you're electing a school president, you might require that candidates be in the upper grade levels and have a minimum GPA.
You should also set a deadline for nominations to be submitted, which will ensure that there is enough time to review all the applications and make a decision about who will be on the ballot.
Once the nominations are in, it's time to review them and create a shortlist of candidates who will be on the ballot. The school election committee will be responsible for this task, and they will review the applications and make a decision about who should be included on the ballot.
It's important to have a diverse group of candidates on the ballot, which will ensure all students have someone they can identify with and feel represented by.
After the candidates have been announced, it's time to allow them to begin campaigning. This is an important step in the process because it gives students a chance to learn more about the candidates and their platforms.
Campaigning should be allowed to take place for a week before the election, which will give candidates enough time to reach out to their constituents and get their message across. During this time, candidates should be allowed to put up posters, give speeches, and hold events. However, they should not be allowed to campaign during class time or in other places where it would disrupt the learning environment.
The next step is to conduct the elections using an online voting system. This is a convenient way to allow all students to participate in the process, regardless of their schedules. There are a few different ways to set up an online voting system–one option is to use a Google Form, which can be sent out to students via email.
Another option is to use a dedicated online voting platform, such as ElectionBuddy. This is a better option, as it offers a variety of features to improve school elections, including different voting methods, real-time results, and candidate profiles. Candidate profiles are especially useful because they contain pictures and background information about each candidate, helping students in the decision-making process. Online voting systems can also be used to improve teaching–check out our post on polling tools to keep students engaged to learn how.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to test the system before the elections begin. This will ensure that everything is working properly and that there are no glitches on election day.
Once the elections are over, it's important to announce the results as soon as possible. This will allow students to know who their new representatives are and give them a chance to celebrate the results.
The results should be published on the school website and sent out to students and parents via email. An online voting system like ElectionBuddy can be helpful here, as it offers real-time results to keep students engaged.