ASB elections to open Wednesday

Emily Yun and Brennen Ho

Restricted to a virtual campaign, Palo Alto High School junior Yubin Zhang gives a speech outlining his plans and goals for the 2021-2022 school year through a video on his personal Instagram account. Zhang, who is currently the Associated Student Body secretary, is running for ASB vice president. “I feel like I learned a lot about how ASB operates this year and also had a lot of personal growth on responsibility,” Zhang said. Photo: Yubin Zhang

With voting for Palo Alto High School’s 2021 Associated Student Body Election opening Wednesday, candidates are using new campaigning methods to adapt to a strictly virtual campaign platform.

According to the ASB Elections Campaigning Rules, candidates this year are restricted to online platforms, which include social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. Junior Spirit Commissioner Joy Xu said the restriction was established to ensure equity during the race.

“The students that are on campus have a higher chance of garnering more votes than the students at home,” Xu said. “So ASB decided that if you campaign on campus, you will be disqualified from the race.”

Unable to promote their campaigns by speaking directly to students or putting up posters around campus, some candidates said they are experimenting with different ways to foster a similar connection to students online. Junior Yubin Zhang and Sophomore Ashley Meyer, who are both running for ASB vice president, said they are employing Instagram for outreach.

“I will primarily use Instagram as my way to campaign and ensure that the content I post is appealing to students not only in my grade but also in the lower grades,” Zhang said.

In addition to being restricted to an online platform, the candidates are prohibited from spending money on their campaigns. According to Junior ASB Vice President Diana Narancic, the candidates of the 2019-2020 race were limited to $20, however, in response to the stress of COVID-19, ASB decided to limit the candidates to $0. 

Despite these restrictions, many of the candidates say they are not concerned about changing campaigning methods, and previous ASB members report success in adapting to the virtual environment in their current positions this past year.

Candidate speeches can be viewed here, and voting will open Wednesday.