By Arthur H. Gunther III
A long-ago story, Election Day 2022 relevant.
In spring 1960, the General Organization of Spring Valley High School (N.Y.) held its presidential election for the next school year. There were two candidates, both capable of filling the student government office. One was more popular than the other but each had supporters. There were debates between the two, and each candidate had a chance to present a platform.
The platforms were typical school-type political promises, such as more school activities and concerts and better food for sale at football and basketball games.
Time was set aside for voting, and a real voting machine was brought in to allow sophomores, juniors and seniors to cast ballots.
Finally, Leland Rickard-Meyer, the longtime principal, opened the back of the voting machine and read the tally. There were 202 votes for the winner and 198 for the loser.
The winner’s hand was raised, and the loser shook his other hand. Both candidates remained friends. There was no election challenge, no tears with cries by election deniers. It was a damn good example for students learning about participatory democracy.
It is a lesson still to be learned today in this great experiment called democracy, ongoing since 1776. May whoever wins Tuesday take up the sacred challenge to keep elections free and fair and fully accessible.
Final note: the fellow who won, Fred Yatto Jr., had just two months in office, passing away at 17 after heart surgery. The guy who lost was a pallbearer. That was me.
The writer is a retired newspaperman.