There has never been a more important election for you! It is not the Presidential election of 2020, but it is a more important event, as it is the local election to select five members to the school board of Upper Merion. How will this affect our school? How are students reacting, and will students have a more amplified voice in the new School Board?
Before answering these questions, we must recognize that in this election, there was a significant emphasis on mail-in ballots. More than 2,000 mail-in ballots were cast for several of the candidates, such as 2,049 mail-in votes for Democratic candidate Jason Jones, and 197 mail-in votes for candidates like Republican Daniel Gemmill. Gemmill and other republicans competed closely with their Democratic opposition, but it was a Democratic landslide across the board (2021 Election Information | Montgomery County, PA – Official Website, 2021). Unfortunately, the total voter turnout in this election hovered around 30-36%, with only about a third of the eligible voters participating in the election, showing how little the Upper Merion community and students actually participated in the seating of these new school board members. (2021 Election Information | Montgomery County, PA – Official Website, 2021).
Unfortunately, many students were dissatisfied with the election’s process as an anonymous student from the school commented that “These are children; there shouldn’t be any partisan influence in our school systems and especially between the people who run it.” Another person stated “The new board should allow students to have more of an amplified voice; giving them the more representation that they deserve” (Anonymous). Many students understood the election but were unhappy that the widely popular candidate, Lisa Egan (R), lost her election campaign for the position of UM Director at-large.
Students felt that “Egan should have gotten more votes and won” and that “The school board needs to better hear and understand student opinions (Anonymous). The school board has worked tirelessly, and I believe that they will continue to try to better understand and meet the voices of the students who want their ideas and opinions to be acknowledged even more. This election was in all purpose fair, and yet the small amount of voter turnout has led to students desiring for more students to vote and ensure that the board most accurately represents their views. I believe that humanity, despite all its greatness, can always strive for more perfection, and the school board is no exception to that- as I believe that they have done a good job but can always be more representative of the student’s voices and ideas.