Description of the tasks and list of candidates
First step: issue to clarify: what are a delegate’s functions?
We had three rounds of interventions:
In the first round students who do not have the experience had the opportunity to express themselves.
In the second students who had some experience in other schools or who were delegates a few years earlier in our school were given the chance to share their views.
In the third round answers from students who have recent experience in our school were elicited.
While the others were speaking, a student collected ideas in a mind-map on the whiteboard. The discussion was ended by an open round to complete the mind-map.
Second step: making the list of candidates
Democratic procedures must have as a result the best possible choices being made. In this case the aim was to choose two people (a girl and a boy) who are trusted by others as choosing representatives is to grant confidence.
We made a list of all the students in the class and displayed it on the flip chart in large size.
Only those who really can’t become delegates were crossed off the list by themselves. Nobody was expected to give explanations and nobody is supposed to ask anyone to cross him/her out. They have to get up and cross themselves off the list. I left the classroom for 2 minutes so as not to exert any involuntary pressure that my presence may have inadvertently implied.
Approximately at least one third of the class should remain as potential delegates, the ideal (and common) is that the names of two thirds of the students remain on the board or flip chart. In our case 16 out of 20 names stayed on the poster. The teacher should always encourage staying on the list for reasons of solidarity, fellowship and because once the candidate has been chosen he or she can still refuse to be elected.
Third step: description of procedures, selecting our secretaries and getting our election papers ready
Two of the persons, a boy and a girl, who were not candidates were appointed as voting secretaries with the consent of the others. Their function was to prepare the ballots with the names of the candidates and photocopy them, recount the ballots and proclaim the results. The teacher moved on to a second term, supporting the actions of the secretaries and explaining the procedure. Details on what is a valid vote and what makes a vote invalid, details on the choices the students have (to vote or not to vote), details on voting mark procedure. (I recommend to stay as close as possible to the real electoral system in the country we are living in, in our case we put a cross beside the two chosen male names and the two chosen female ones).