The Palo Alto High School Associated Student Body will implement a new online voting system for this year’s upcoming elections.
The system, which will be used during election week, is set to eliminate all paper ballots and replace them with electronic voting through computers and cellphones, according to Student Activities Director Matt Hall.
Voting will open March 27 and end March 29, and students will vote through this link. Students will have to log in with their Student ID numbers and their full names registered on Infinite Campus.
“One thing to note is that students will need to log-in with their actual, Infinite Campus name,” Hall said. “For example, if a student goes by Bill, but their Infinite Campus name is registered as William, they will need to put in William. I ran through the whole process and it took me less than a minute to log in and vote.”
ASB President Jessica Tam expressed her excitement for the accessibility of this new process.
“People should be able to access the portal through any computer, even their phones,” Tam said. “This means that people can even vote at home.”
Previously, paper ballots limited the voting time to lunches on the Quad from Wednesday through Friday on election week. This year, Hall says that voting will be open for 72 consecutive hours. Hall believes this change will significantly increase voter turnout from past years.
“Last year’s turnout rate was approximately 19-22 percent,” Hall said. “Our hope for this year, in making the process more user-friendly and accessible, is to increase voter turnout rates.”
Tam echoed Hall’s sentiment.
“We are hoping for an increased voter turnout since our numbers in the past have not even come close to a majority of the student body,” Tam said. “Ideally, we want every single student in grades 9, 10 and 11 to vote so we’re going to reach out to as many students as possible.”
In addition to the online voting system, the ASB will be filming candidates’ speeches and posting them onto the ASB website, Facebook and Youtube, according to Hall.
“Holding an all-school assembly for the candidates is not logistically possible,” Hall said. “So we hit upon this step [filming speeches] as something that allows voters to get to know the candidates a bit more deeply than just looking at a flyer or poster.”
Check back for updates on the election.