Should seniors vote for SMOB?


Photo courtesy Montgomery County Public Schools

Arvin Kim, currently a junior at Walt Whitman high school, was recently elected the 45th SMOB. Each year, students across the county vote for the candidate they believe should hold this important position.

As the second semester rolls around, students begin to hear more about SMOB (Student Member of the Board) elections. Suddenly, candidates are posting about their campaigns all over Instagram while students in the hallways discuss who they will vote for. But, it is important to keep in mind that when people vote, they are voting for the candidate they believe should take the position the following year. So, should seniors be able to vote for SMOB?

According to the MCPS website, the SMOB can “vote on matters related to collective bargaining, capital and operating budgets, and school closings, reopenings and boundaries, but not on negative personnel actions.” The website also mentions that Montgomery County is one of the two counties in Maryland that gives this position full voting rights.

As of right now, seniors have the opportunity to vote in SMOB elections. Some may argue that this is a positive thing considering most seniors are about to complete 12 years of schooling in the county. As a result, they would know what is best for both the county and the school in general.

However, being a senior, I have noticed that many of my classmates approach these elections as a joke since they know they will no longer be in the school system the year that the SMOB takes office. Therefore, they may decide to vote for the funniest candidate or the one with less realistic goals in order to “sabotage” the election since it won’t affect them.

In addition, many underclassmen believe that it is unfair to let seniors vote in SMOB elections since it isn’t their future and could potentially reduce the impact of their vote. They believe that the more people that vote in an election, the less the votes of others matter since the data can become more skewed. For example, if 5 people voted for something, then 1 person is 20% of the vote meaning their vote is more significant. However, if 5,000 people voted for something, then 1 person is .0004% of the vote.

At Walter Johnson alone, there are nearly 700 seniors in this year’s graduating class. If you were to count up the total number of seniors in the county, this number would more than quadruple. Therefore, these seniors voting in SMOB elections are making the voting pool larger and as a result, reducing the magnitude of the vote of others in the county who will actually be affected by the outcome of this election.

For these reasons, I believe that the population of people voting for SMOB should only be made up of people who will be in the county next year since ultimately it is their wants that should take priority, not ones of seniors who won’t be affected by the new SMOB.