- Author: Mia Wesselkamper
- Author: Millie Wright
In response to current shelter-in-place restrictions, two 4-H members created a virtual voting platform that can be replicated and customized to fit the needs of any interested 4-H club. It consists of:
- A website platform for the actual election process;
- An election video to allow club members watch the nominee's speeches;
- An online customizable ballot that provides voter IDs;
- Paper ballots for members who are voting offline.
This great program was created by Mia and Millie from Independence 4-H in Sebastopol, Sonoma County.
"One 'spark' we both share is leadership—we enjoy leading our club as well as working to encourage more youth to lead in various ways. Because of this, elections are a very important part of our club.”
From Mia and Millie:
We had already started our nomination process at our March meeting and club members were really enthusiastic about nominations and becoming a club officer. When the California Shelter in Place happened, we realized after a few days at home that we needed a way to have an election but still make it fun, interactive, and empowering. We wanted to ensure that our club members would not lose that interest and that is why we started the online election platform together.
We both have been part of 4-H for many years. Mia has been involved in 4-H since kindergarten and is now a junior. She participated in a variety of 4-H projects this year including: Rabbits, Outdoor Adventure, Soapmaking, and Woodcarving, and was a Teen Leader for Rabbits and Scientific Literacy. I, Millie, joined 4-H in third grade and am now a freshman. This year I did the Archery and Soapmaking projects, and was Teen Leader for Record Books and Beginning 4H.
Helping Other Clubs set up a Virtual Election
We have turned this into an Emerald Star Project by inviting other clubs from Sonoma County to use the template we created. We gave the interested clubs all the tools for them to customize the template for their elections. We are now hoping to help clubs statewide.
The 4-H motto is “learn by doing,” and not only did we create the template so club exec boards could run their own elections (it is a very user-friendly platform), but we have learned a lot from this experience too! We learned to provide technical support, to help families with photo and video editing and uploading to the website and we are happy to make a difference and help our community come together. We're very excited to help clubs participate in virtual voting, please let us know if you are interested in setting up a site for your club.
Sonoma County is grateful to Mia and Millie for stepping up and taking over the entire process and helping multiple clubs in our community complete their election process. They are now ready to help other clubs set up a virtual election process too!
Check out the4Helectionproject.com
Fill out the online request form for assistance in setting up your club's virtual election.