Catherine Pearlman is a social worker and professor at Brandman University. You can follow her here.
I’m writing to update you on the election policies for Opportunity Knocks High School. It may be confusing, so please read this email thoroughly. If you have any questions, don’t ask. The point of this email is to be confusing.
To Mrs. Johnson’s 6th period ESL class: Your voting place has changed. Don’t go to the gym because your voting center has moved to the community center five miles from our school. I know most of you take the bus to school. Many of you don’t have transportation to the poll place, but we can’t help with that. Please make sure to vote, though, because every vote matters (😉). Unfortunately, I am not able to translate this email into Spanish, so many of you won’t even know the polling place has changed. Sorry about that—but you not understanding this email is kind of the point. The polling place change also applies to Mrs. Ridles’s, Mrs. Mirsky’s and Mr. Baldasari’s classes, but not if you have those teachers for 3rd period.
To those home quarantining due to our recent Coronavirus outbreak: You may send your votes in early. But I’m sorry to say, we probably won’t count them. We will act like we will but in the end we feel votes cast before the election are less valued than those cast by people who actually come to the polls.
To those who voted for Ellen “the smartest most qualified student” Jones: The administration doesn’t really want Ellen to win this election. If you vote for her there’s a chance we may just provide a fake ballot box or we may end up destroying ballots. We know Ellen has a very good chance of winning this election if we make it fair, so you can’t really blame us for this.
To those who participated in the drive-thru voting we set up this morning: Thank you for voting. But we are going to have to get rid of those votes. I know we said you could vote this way, but we’ve changed our minds. Sorry.
If, after the votes are counted, it looks like Ellen received most of the votes, the school administration is going to say the election was “rigged”, there was fraud, and Ellen cannot be senior class president. We will make the whole election process look fraught with corruption. That way, even if Ellen takes office, it will be under a dark cloud, and no one will listen to her or like her.
Many students may well have people who taught them to believe that winning due to cheating is dishonorable. Yes, that is true. Winning at all costs is wrong. But we are going to make an exception to this rule, just this once (we also reserve this right in the future). Winning is winning, and this student election is just too darn important to do things the according to the rules.
If you voted for Ellen and you are upset by the outcome, please see your guidance counselor for some meditative and breathing exercises. Also, this is not an excuse for students to stop following all other school policies.
Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation.