Winning the Fickle Votes of Juniors

debate-panoramaDeciding the winner of the annual senior debate ultimately comes down to the whims of the juniors; but how do they make their decision? UHS seniors worked on the mock election project for months, writing platforms, creating propaganda and preparing speeches, but on Thursday the attention shifted to the juniors. While seniors spent hours filming videos, creating personalized party favors and decorating LL5, most juniors say these are not important factors to winning their votes.

After each junior cast their vote, they were asked to fill out a supplemental ballot, questioning which aspect of the debate process most influenced their vote: 197 juniors voted, and 148 filled out the supplemental ballot. Eighty-three voters stated that the most important element was the parties’ platforms. One voter explained that her process for choosing a party was “to make a chart comparing each party’s view on the five most important issues to [her] and using that to make [her] decision.”

The key factor for 58 of the juniors was each party’s debate performance.  As one of these juniors explains, “The debates influenced [her] the most. [She] liked to see how each party reacted under pressure and was able to effectively communicate their views to the audience.”

While the videos, propaganda and membership of a party play a major role in the debate experience for seniors, juniors do not see these as the most important aspects when coming to a decision. Although the creative propaganda that covered the lower level and classrooms for the month of January and humorous campaign videos that the juniors look forward to seeing at the Town Halls add excitement and creativity to this unique aspect of UHS, they may not be significant to the outcome.

As this debate season comes to a close, we wonder: What will this year’s juniors bring next year? Will they attempt to come up with a new method of swaying voters? If past is prologue, they should focus on platform and debate performance.

For full election coverage, click here.

Amanda Bressler contributed to this article.

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