Perhaps the largest component to our solution was the creation of an online voting system that would keep votes anonymous, but also keep the process secure. To address these needs, our class created unique codes that would be used to verify that each vote was cast by a GEMS Student according to the election rules while also allowing only one vote per student. The class also created a voting portal to access the online ballot. We then provided classroom teachers in grades 3-8 with slips of paper which included the voting code or PIN number, directions for accessing the portal, and a QR code to provide another access option.
The ballot is designed to be visual as well as informational with pictures of the candidates and some simple biographical information. In our class research, we learned that lacking accurate information about the candidates is sometimes a significant obstacle to voting. political advertisements and even news stories can be very confusing to many potential voters. By providing some basic information about the candidates, we were hoping to make the process more comfortable and increase participation.
In addition to online voting, the class also decided to hold the mock election over 4 days. Providing this flexibility to teachers and students was another attempt to get a high level of participation. Our system will accept votes through Friday, November 4th.
The class plans to publish our election results on Monday, November 7th, which will allow everyone to compare the mock election results with those of the general election on Tuesday, November 8th. Our class will next study the outcomes of the potential solutions we implemented and figure out how they might apply to larger scale elections.
With two more days of online voting to go, our solutions look promising. Stay tuned for the results!