Extend elections now

Extend+elections+now

We would like to ask a simple question — how short is too short for a political campaign? Two weeks? Three weeks? How about five days? In case you didn’t know, five days is how long we officially have to elect a new SGA president.

 

According to the campaign schedule, official platforms for all the candidates were due March 20, last Friday. The last day you can vote is two days from now, on Wednesday, March 25 at 4 p.m.

Officially speaking, we have five days to learn about all four presidential candidates and all three vice presidential candidates. Some candidates have self-promoted only days before this deadline.

The core issue is that we have five days to figure out which candidates will work on issues that are important to us. Five days to decide who will represent our collective voice to the administration, faculty and broader community. Five days to decide who will control the SGA’s vast budget. Five days.

Firstly, we recognize the Cynic has made the mistake of not investigating deeper and calling for reform earlier. For that we sincerely apologize. Now, in the time we have, we call upon the student body at large to pay attention to what is happening here and to act, if necessary.

Our condemnation of this irresponsibly rushed democratic process, if it can be called democratic, could not be stronger. If the election is not extended and the system reformed, we are submitting to a system that allows us to be represented by people whom we don’t know and whom we had little chance of knowing in the first place.

And that’s not a democracy.

There was a debate tonight for all the candidates running for SGA president. Not until a Cynic reporter interviewed the public relations committee chair did a post appear on the official SGA page promoting the debate, two and a half hours before the event.

 

If they are restricted by their constitution

and practice, then their constitution and

practice restrict democracy.

 

Since the Cynic is printed on Wednesday we’re publishing this staff editorial early, as you can see, on our website. That the Cynic is unable to fully assist in disseminating vital election information, precisely because of unreasonably prohibitive SGA electoral policy, is testament to how poorly our elections are planned.

Universities and colleges around the country are just as much communities as they are educational institutions. Students exist within them to learn from one another, test new ideas and, to a large degree, self-govern. Through these communities, precedents are set for the next generation.

The precedent that is being set in this election, our election, is that an effective democratic process is an afterthought. Members of the SGA will say their constitution requires they conclude the election five weeks before the last day of classes, which is true. They will say this is how elections have been conducted in recent history. If they are restricted by their constitution and practice, than their constitution and practice restricts democracy.

How much or how little real power the SGA holds is beside the point — practicing democracy is what builds a community. It’s the process that makes the governing body legitimate and respected.  

The Cynic urges the SGA to allow voting to continue for, at minimum, one week. Furthermore, the SGA must change the restrictions on campaigning periods in the constitution. Doing so will demonstrate a commitment to both transparency and fundamental democratic norms — commitments that should already exist. The alternative is having a virtually secret election.

If the SGA does not act, we urge the student body at large to protest. If this election is allowed to end Wednesday, we will all be living, studying and working under a body that fundamentally does not represent us.