Banning Joint Candidacy An Ineffective Change

Removing joint candidacy in the Student Government Association (SGA) executive elections is illogical and will lead to disjointed leadership and inefficient legislating.

Bill 51sl40, which legislators will vote on during Monday’s meeting, would eliminate joint tickets and joint campaigning in an effort to eliminate running mate ambiguity and incentivize more students to run for executive positions. Currently, candidates running for SGA president can run on a ticket with an executive vice presidential candidate.

The SGA executive vice president is responsible for running various committees, serving on University Senate and assuming the role of president if the current president is unable to fulfill their duties. This position should be occupied by a candidate with ideals and goals similar to those of the SGA president, making joint candidacy a practical institution.

A president and vice president who have compatible leadership styles would allow SGA to function as a more cohesive unit; candidates who work well together and have complementary platforms should have the capacity to work as a team and campaign together.

The bill claims that “Each candidate ought to run on their own ideas, experience, and reputation,” a sentiment with which we fully agree. But while having a variety of opinions and voices in student government is valuable, having a cohesive leadership team is just as important. Elected class representatives supply that variety by representing the concerns of their constituents. SGA executive leadership serves a different role: to provide legislative guidance and stability.

The bill also claims that joint candidacy confused the SGA Elections Board last year, when the Board created a ballot that allowed constituents to vote for a joint ticket and also for each candidate individually. As SGA Speaker of the Legislature and bill author William Palmer (18C) noted, “It wasn’t clear which one was the binding vote.”

The Elections Board is responsible for organizing a clear and comprehensible voting system. While the failure of last year’s board to do that is a problem, banning joint candidacy is not the solution. Instead, SGA representatives should fix the ambiguous clause.

Additionally, the lack of a running mate should not deter voters from electing a particularly strong candidate on their own merit — a running mate is not, and has never been, a “necessitation,” despite what the bill states. SGA candidates do not need a running mate, but it is illogical and impractical to prohibit candidates from at least having the option.

The above Editorial represents the consensus opinion of the Wheel’s editorial board.

The editorial board is composed of Nora Elmubarak,  Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Isabeth Mendoza, Boris Niyonzima, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois and Mathew Sperling.