Homecoming court voting process should be altered

October 14, 2019 — by Megan Chen and Oliver Ye

With the current model, there is unlikely to be a true reflection of the spirit of Homecoming court

Although Homecoming court supposedly recognizes respected students who embody school spirit, the reality is different: It is a popularity contest — some even campaign for themselves. Worse yet, many students sometimes end up voting for other students as a joke.

While there are a fair number of students voted on the court honorably, part of the Homecoming court each year always seems to be comprised of students who have been voted for as a kind of inside joke. This comes at the cost of another student’s reputation and self-esteem.

In the past three years, attempts to get such candidates voted have occurred. Such candidates often recognize that they’re being voted as a joke, and do not appreciate the unsolicited attention. One such attempt resulted in the nomination being declined while another resulted in the successfully elected candidate turning down the position.

Another reason the current online voting method isn’t working is that some students have started campaigning for a spot on Homecoming court by begging their friends to vote for them, and even posting on their Instagram stories. Also, there have been instances where various students have taken their friends’ phones and voted for themselves. 

Of course, campaigning for Homecoming court defeats the purpose of the celebration in the first place. While individuals who display exemplary behavior such as selflessness and kindness are usually popular, the converse may not always be true.

In an attempt to curb this behavior, the leadership class even added a phrase on their Facebook post this year, explaining that the Homecoming court is “not a popularity contest.” Ironically, this statement implies that there are a significant number of students who do believe that the court is a popularity contest.

The school can do whatever it wants to try and stop this behavior with Facebook posts, but their strategies most likely will not work. A mere Facebook post is unlikely to have tangible impact on students who are driven to band together and discuss their votes prior to actually voting.

This isn’t to say that the school should just completely get rid of an election, but rather try to change the overtly negative result that stems from giving students time to discuss their votes. 

Holding elections at the beginning of tutorial and having students take five minutes to select a couple of names on the spot would solve the problems of people campaigning for a position as well as “joke” voting.  In other words, the Homecoming vote would work best if it were given without prior warning. This way students would be given neither the opportunity to campaign nor the opportunity to discuss their votes. 

With these reforms, the vote for Homecoming court would be more likely to include truly spirited individuals.