ASB uses digital ballots for homecoming voting this year

New results reveal Chase Willet and Lilly Fuller are the winners

With the current shift to online learning, the Oak Park High School Associated Student Body has had to adapt their events with the times. While large gatherings and in-person events are still off the table, ASB has found a way to keep homecoming alive this year with some modifications to the traditional voting process. 

“During the usual school year, counting ballots is done by hand,” senior and ASB resident Anna Stephens wrote to the Talon. “Everyone in our ASB class would help and we used to spend an entire week preparing, distributing, and tallying up the ballots.”

According to Stephens, the process was incredibly time consuming and required a lot of hands-on work from the student body as a collective. 

The voting takes place in two rounds; in the first round nominees are selected by the students individually and in the second the three most popular couple nominees from each grade that the students could choose between are announced. 

“Obviously, because we are in a distance learning program here, we can’t do that,” senior and ASB vice president Connor MacKinnon said. “So what we did was we created a Google Form in which students could access via the Oak Park classes Instagram page in their bio, and once they accessed that they could sign in with their student email and select their grade and nominate 3 couples for the first round.”

Once the student had input their own choices for couples, the tallies were totalled just like in the original process. The window for voting lasted 24 hours and the top three recorded couples made it to the second round.

“For the second round of voting, it’s much easier to count votes since it’s only 3 couples per grade, and that can be done more quickly,” senior class president Jackson Finch wrote.

Finch is head of the spirit committee and is responsible for a majority of the decisions for homecoming. He was also responsible for tallying the scores for this year’s homecoming Royalty.

“This type of voting was easier because everyone is already at their computer, but in a normal school year, not everyone has a computer with them at school,” Finch wrote. “However, I think that this could be implemented in future years because it is much easier and faster than the original method of voting.”

According to Finch, the spirit committee took full advantage of the technology at their disposal to reduce the time it took to tally each vote. With a list full of random names, it was hard for Spirit to select the 3 most common. However, it became much easier using computer algorithms to speed up the process. 

“It really is a tedious task because you have to go through the whole list,” MacKinnon said. “Us in Spirit came up with a really great idea; why don’t we just go through it and ‘Command F’ the names and we can see what matches with them, and that way we could eliminate all the ones that weren’t as common and therefore weren’t getting as many votes. Those wouldn’t be the nomination and then we narrowed it down to the three most common.”

Any student can vote on the ballots for their grade, including the ASB. The only rules for the ballot surround the nominees making it onto the homecoming ballot; the two people must be in a couple and cannot be friends, and the couple must have accepted their nomination.

“We usually don’t put them on the ballot to avoid putting anyone in an uncomfortable situation,” Stephens wrote. “Before any couple is put on the final ballot, we always get their approval to make sure their nomination is alright with them.”

This year, the number of students who voted was drastically different than in previous years. According to the members of ASB, upperclassmen tend to vote more than the underclassman and most of the students usually end up participating and taking it pretty seriously. 

“Typically, the overwhelming majority of students partake in the voting process,” Jackson wrote. “This year, there was a bit less, which is understandable because the ballots aren’t physically handed to them.” 

Though the dance is out of the question, the focus for this homecoming is to recreate the events surrounding it, including the rally, the homecoming football game halftime show, performances by the band and choir and the Homecoming Royalty Showcase. This will all be pre-recorded and shown via EagleTV on the morning announcements. The intent is to reinvigorate school spirit and community during online learning and will hopefully inspire new ideas for online activities in the future.

“I can’t wait to see how the Homecoming showcase turns out,” Stephens wrote. “If it goes well, it will give us an idea of what events will be successful during distance learning and how we can best cheer up the student body until we’re all back together on campus.”