To all those who vote

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To all those who vote

Elections will be held next Tuesday and Thursday. Every vote counts!

Elections will be held next Tuesday and Thursday. Every vote counts!

Theresa Thompson

Elections will be held next Tuesday and Thursday. Every vote counts!

Theresa Thompson

Theresa Thompson

Elections will be held next Tuesday and Thursday. Every vote counts!

By Johnathan Smith, Lincoln High School

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Student council elections are coming up, with campaign posters starting to overwhelm the halls of LHS and hopeful candidates making their case to serve as student body representatives.

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to serve as a member of the Lincoln High Student Council. I’ve gotten the chance to give back to my community, both in LHS and in Sioux Falls. Listen, I get it. When you hear “StuCo,” “popularity contest” and “only plans dances” come to mind (I would argue that student council does much more with community outreach and in-school activities than most people think, but that’s not the intent behind this essay).

I would instead like to address the idea that the sole way to be elected to student government is to be a member of the “social elite.” Because the final decision is up to you: the student body.

I’ll admit that many elections seemingly boil down to name recognition. The sad truth is, many students could care less about who’s elected to the council. Instead of digging deeper into the character traits of candidates, uninterested students check a few random boxes and submit their ballots. If a student cares a little bit more, they vote for the creator of whichever poster and campaign slogan was the funniest they saw walking between classes. While witty signs are a massive part of a student council campaign and can make or break a candidate’s chances, they shouldn’t be the deciding factor when students go to the polls.

Student council serves as a sample size of the student body as a whole. Their job is to embody the ideas and beliefs, the worries and fears, the likes and dislikes, and the spirit of LHS as a whole. If students vote without knowing who they’re voting for, it threatens the basis for a student council: to be a representative of their peers. It is simply preposterous that we can blindly submit ballots and feel like we’ve done our full duty.

So I issue a challenge to the student body. Before checking any box, have a conversation with your candidates. Ask them about their motivators, their passions, their aspirations. Ask them what separates them from a crowded field of competitors. Make these prospective student body representatives earn your vote. In the end, it will aid both the voter and the candidate in their attempt to transform LHS for years to come.

I’ll leave you with this. The student council is meant to be you. It’s goal is to serve LHS students in all of their endeavors. When you vote, make sure it’s for someone that you want serving you.

This story was originally published on The Statesman on January 28, 2019.