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LOCO revises election process to draw larger student participation

Sophomore Umeera Farooq poses in front of her campaign poster for the newly introduced secretary position. Farooq and other campaigners for secretary were the only ones to hang campaign posters. “The description for the role of secretary are things I already do; I organize, make charts, and take the lead in group projects,” Farooq said. “I wanted to step up and take a bigger role since I didn’t do much in LOCO last year.”

Gabe Davis, Parkway West High School

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May 4 was the last day for voting for student government (LOCO) positions and the end of school-wide elections. This election marked the first year of video campaigns, Google Forms ballots and voting for representatives and secretaries rather than president and vice president.

“We got rid of the president and vice president titles and replaced them with representatives for each grade so that way it’s not just a title — you’re there to be the voice of your grade,” senior and newly-elected student body representative MJ Striker said.

This change follows a pattern of political apathy observed by Striker, who reported that only five to six people not affiliated with LOCO would show up to weekly Tuesday meetings open to the entire school.

“I think some people are active in student government for sure, but some people do it just for their transcript. Being on LOCO largely means you have to be creative and present at events and really make an effort to try,” former sophomore president B Antonenko said.

The past two years, sophomore candidates struggled to fill posts. In 2017, Antonenko and sophomore Bhargav Addagarla ran unopposed. This year only three freshmen applied to be a sophomore representative, filling the three spots given to them without competition.

“There’s a lot of responsibility. We had a good amount of people help out and volunteer and I think they realized ‘Woah, this is a lot of work, this is a lot of stuff to keep up with to be an active member,’ and I think a lot of people just decided not to come back,” former freshmen president Reese Berry said.

Accompanying these new titles, candidates were also asked to make short campaign videos which would be sent to students along with a Google form to vote.

“We found that no one read the letters of intent so we made the videos hoping that would draw more attention. But I feel that’s been ineffective as well because it’s sent as its own link and no one has the time to go over there and watch a video. It feels semi-useless now,” Addagarla said.

The most well-received change to the LOCO election has been the opportunity to run for secretary. Posters with witty slogans lined the halls as sophomores Mariam Mirza and Umeera Farooq ran for junior secretary. Stricker and Antonenko are hoping this will alleviate some of the pressures former LOCO members faced.

“I think we could definitely work harder collectively since this year the work wasn’t evenly distributed and a lot of responsibility fell on a few juniors and seniors,” Antonenko said.

Previously LOCO has been composed of a president and vice president for each grade as well as one senior as the student body president. These figures directed school events, found speakers and attended summer and weekly school year meetings. Addagarla noted that such a role entailed dealing with a lot of unpredictable and stressful scenarios.

“For instance during Homecoming someone decided to break one of the backboards and glass shattered everywhere. We had to clean that up quickly and in the end it was alright because we got it fixed before events took place, but that was one example of many different things that have happened,” Addagarla said.

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