Flawed elections may have long-term consequences

Legitimate democracy is difficult to achieve on any level. In the past few weeks, the SGA has taken this to heart and proved it over and over again. Traditionally, SGA elections have been rather mild affairs. Usually, most students only realize there is an election when they receive an e-mail with the link to vote.This year’s election however, has given the student body something to think about. The drama started when presidential candidate Claire Chevrier brought to the attention of the SGA that her opponent, Kofi Mensah, had too many posters.The SGA investigated Mensah’s receipts and found some discrepancies concerning possible overspending. As a result, the SGA asked Mensah to remove his posters because he violated this policy. That should have been the end of it. Alas, the SGA could not leave well enough alone and, upon dubious evidence, the SGA decided Mensah violated his sanction and took him off the ballot.Being the decisive force that it is, the SGA then replaced Mensah’s name on the ballot and half-heartedly apologized.This entire process was dutifully covered by The Cynic, but soon rumors mixed with facts quickly spread all across campus.Instead of the candidates spreading their name through their campaign promises and platforms, they became infamous due to completely irrelevant issues. Amid all of the waffling from the SGA and the comments from the candidates, the point of the entire election was corrupted.The platforms that the candidates were running on fell by the wayside and the election transformed into a proverbial episode of Jerry Springer.The worst part of the whole debacle may be that the sanctions and punishments given to Mensah by the SGA served their exact opposite purpose. Through all the drama, Mensah received more publicity than his extra posters could have ever given him. The SGA should consider sanctioning itself for having a campaign bias and using its own time and funds to put out the name of this candidate. In the end, the election has served its final purpose to elect a new SGA president in Kofi Mensah. Unfortunately, the ramifications of the campaign may consequently deter further student participation.After witnessing what some may call a slightly botched election on the part of the SGA, many students may not want to pay any attention at all.Hopefully, the SGA will learn from this election to act less impulsively and think more carefully about how to deal with issues as important as this one was.