Changes to clearly delineate elections rules and allow Elections Board members to recuse themselves from cases when they have a conflict of interest increase trust in the integrity of our elections process — crucial after last year’s circus show. However, the Electoral Reform Commission should consider further updates to create a fairer voting system based on enrollment year to ensure that all eligible students can vote.
The recently passed changes to the Elections Code are productive measures. The annual rules audit will ensure that outdated or unnecessary rules are regularly eliminated from the Elections Code, allowing for more clarity. Explicit penalties stated in the code, such as the newly added clause that alcohol will not be allowed as a campaign promotion, will prevent the sort of arbitrary decision making that led to confusion during last Spring’s elections.
The Elections Code change that adds “no confidence” as an option for all ballots, as opposed to just uncontested elections, will allow students to signal a rejection of all candidates. The current system forces students to choose one candidate in uncontested elections, even if they deem everyone unfit.
Last year, students’ voting status was determined by the number of credit hours they completed, rather than their year in college. This classification made some juniors ineligible to vote if they had senior standing based on credit hours and forced sophomores with junior standing to vote for class representatives who were juniors or seniors. While the Electoral Reform Commission should have some means of disenfranchising senior-standing juniors who plan to graduate a full year early, that this ability currently comes at the expense of some juniors who plan to return is unacceptable. The classification process must change so students can vote for representatives who stand for their interests and to ensure a fair and democratic process.
We commend the Elections Board for modifying the Elections Code, but these changes will be meaningless unless SGA upholds the higher standard the changes have set.
The Editorial Board is composed of Zach Ball, Jacob Busch, Ryan Fan, Andrew Kliewer, Madeline Lutwyche, Boris Niyonzima, Omar Obregon-Cuebas, Shreya Pabbaraju, Isaiah Sirois, Madison Stephens and Kimia Tabatabaei.
Kimia Tabatabaei is a freshman legislator on College Council and recused herself from this piece.