Administration bans use of social media in elections


Annie Rustum

Administration has banned students from posting about the ASB elections via social media, effective throughout the entire campaign process. Responses have varied; some students are in support of the policy, while others worry that the lack of social media will affect voters’ knowledge on candidates and the elections process.

According to Elena Palacios, a junior who serves as Elections Commissioner, school administration instigated the social media ban.

“This is something that admin wanted because of previous problems that we’ve had,” Palacios said. “They think it’s better that social media is out of the way.”

Candidates are strictly prohibited from using social media in any form to campaign.

Palacios said that ASB made it clear to candidates that no one should post regarding any specific campaign. However, in the case that this occurs, Palacios and ASB advisor Jared Darby will ask the perpetrator to immediately remove the posting. Darby and Palacios will judge on a case by case basis whether a posting will constitute further consequences. Palacios encourages anyone who encounters a breach of rules to report it to her or Darby.

The new rules have been responded to with mixed feelings. According to Palacios, some students agree with the decision to ban the use of social media to campaign because “it will make the vote less of a popularity contest as some people see it,” and will emphasize a focus on candidates’ ideas.

Contrarily, Palacios said other students feel that lack of social media campaigning will make information about the elections less accessible. One such student is sophomore Coral Chen who said she was not aware the elections were occurring on Wednesday, March 8.

“[The banning of social media] probably influenced my knowledge of the election a decent bit considering [in the past], a lot of the people mainly contacted me through social media,” Chen said. “If you’re cutting off social media, then a lot of people don’t have a way to reach people that they’re not friends with.”

To help candidates campaign, ASB held a candidate arena on Tuesday, March 7 where students were able to meet with candidates and ask them questions. Candidates will also be given the option to make a two-minute video announcing what position they’re running for, and be granted 12 seconds on the morning broadcasts to announce their candidacy.

ASB advisor, Jared Darby encourages students to utilize other methods of communication such as candidate arena, daily e-lists, the ASB website, and the MVHS website in order to learn more about candidates and the election process.

“For me, one of the biggest things is encourag[ing] face to face interactions between voters and potential commissioners, and showing the more official avenues of communication on campus, all the social medias are unofficial,” Darby said.  

Hailey Marent, a senior who served as Elections Commissioner in ASB during the 2015-16 term, acknowledges the need for face to face interaction and social media regulation, but ultimately believes social media is a necessary form of communication.

“I think that in our new day and age this is how students in our generation are communicating and this is how, in a real election, campaigns are advertised,” Marent said. “I think it is a beneficial campaign tool that could be well utilized if handled correctly.”

Official voting will begin Wednesday, March 8 and end Friday, March 10. Students can vote through the link that will be sent to their school email.


Update: previously, the headline title was “ASB bans use of social media in elections.” However, administration made the final decision, not ASB.