• Leila Pagel

Harvard-Westlake Prefect Election

By Leila Pagel

Voting for prefects and head-prefects at Harvard-Westlake has always been a difficult undertaking. Students must carefully consider who to vote for, but they also have to figure out how to navigate the survey voting system, a task that has proved to be challenging time and time again.

The first sign of trouble this year appeared when the first voting survey, that was promised to be sent out at noon, did not arrive in inboxes until 12:06 PM. This tremendous violation of the election’s integrity drastically shortened the two-day voting period by six minutes, a clear breach of student rights. Also, in keeping with the 29-year tradition, a glitch was programmed into the first survey. At least 48 students who assumed their computers were broken (and therefore naturally set them on fire and tossed them into garbage cans) were not able to cast their votes at all.

Students taking the survey were horrified to find out that the order in which the candidates gave their speeches was not the same order as on the survey, a blatant attempt to throw off students who remember people based on numbers rather than based on their names (it is believed these students make up at least 0.04% of the student body, proving the random ordering of candidates was meant to significantly impact the results of the election).

After seeing how complex the first round of voting was, one can only imagine all of the tricks that might be played on voters to sway them one way or another or what tactics will be put into place to dissuade students from casting their votes at all. To have the best chance possible of successfully voting in the upcoming prefect elections, refer to the guide below.

Guide to making sure your vote counts:

  • Train your dog, or your younger sibling, to bark whenever an email notification comes in from Outlook

  • Set a timer to remind you to check your email every 8.5 minutes, remember that even your own pets and siblings cannot always be trusted, if possible set your alarm in these intervals, alternating and repeating, for best results: 2 mins 31 secs, 17 mins 49 secs, 4 mins 21 secs, 6 mins 36 secs, and never underestimate the lengths people will go to ensure your vote is not counted

  • Take all emails with a grain of salt: if the school says results will be posted on Thursday, do not be surprised to find them on Saturday and just because it is announced speeches will be held in the field, do not be afraid to also check random science classrooms or the cafeteria

  • Look out for name tricks: the school often employs tricks like these to throw you off, look out for weirdly formatted surveys, misleading nickname placements, and even names of candidates who are no longer in the running (also keep an eye out for fictional decoy candidates, surveys in the past have included characters like Mr. Krabs, Wilma Flintstone, Monica Geller, Carl Fredricksen, King Triton, and Amy Santiago)

  • Do not tell people when or where you will be voting, you never know, the WiFi may be temporarily cut off from that area or your data may be tampered with, it is absolutely necessary to vote in a completely empty room with all the lights off and play really loud and eccentric music so no one gets suspicious

  • Regardless of the circumstances of your voting, absolutely DO NOT let anyone catch you eating pizza while you are voting, that is how you lose a finger