Updated: Mar 10
No, not the one with a socialist, reality star and confused grandpa. THIS election was decidedly more civil. Last week Steve and I were invited to witness the student government elections at the small public school where we teach English. And unlike the classroom elections you may remember from your childhood, students in Honduras take the voting process VERY seriously. In fact preparations took over a week. Voting booths and ballot boxes were created from cardboard boxes. Photo ID cards were printed (yes, they are required here). And election officials were sworn in to man the polls. There were even investigations into alleged corruption when a campaign poster promised daily candy giveaways in exchange for votes.
Students held up their voter registration/ID cards as they waited for polls to open on election day.
When the polls finally opened, each student lined up to cast their votes for student president. They made their way through the process of identity checks, fingerprinting and finally slipping their votes into district boxes, which were later collected and counted to confirm the winner. There were even police guards and international observers (us!) on-hand to verify that everything was done according to election rules.
Voter eligibility was checked and each student fingerprinted before entering the voting booth.
Students chose between candidates selected from each grade and marked their ballots in private "booths" located in several classrooms.
Voters' fingers were smudged with black ink after casting their ballots to help discourage double-voting.
Guards with wooden weapons kept a close eye on the ballot
boxes to prevent tampering and maintain integrity of the results.
You may be thinking that all of this a bit extreme for a primary school student government election in a tiny mountain village. But teachers are using the opportunity to teach students what the election process in Honduras is really like. And, in the process, they are reinforcing a sense of responsibility and privilege that even the citizens of this tiny community have in choosing the leaders of their nation.
Candidate, Skarlett, cast her own ballot. She went on to win and become the 2020 Student Body President.