Current SG election system leaves student body uninformed

I will not be voting in this year’s Student Government elections.

Yes, I know that the elections are fully available online and that the whole process will take me all of five minutes. In the convenience

/time-consumption category, I have no excuse not to exercise my right as a member of the student body to vote in the elections.

However, personally, I don’t feel the urge to vote for candidates whom I know very little, if any, of.

It’s not a conscious decision to be spiteful of the SG organization or to show disapproval of the candidates on the ballot. Rather, my uninformed voting doesn’t contribute to the spirit of the election process.

The whole idea behind holding campus-wide elections is to identify the candidates that best represent the student body as a whole. And ideally, students should know these candidates well enough to weigh their qualifications and to make an intelligent decision.

In practice, however, it’s another story.

As the system stands, barring personal friendships, family relations and other exceptions, it is extremely difficult to know a candidate and his/her qualifications for the sought-after position.

The above is especially true for the senatorial positions. While presidential candidates would at least hold an open forum for voters to learn a little about them and their platforms, the only “campaigning” I am aware of that senatorial candidates participate in is posting pointless name-and-a-face signs and indiscriminately inviting people to join their Facebook groups. (Thank goodness I don’t see that many signs this year, all they accomplish is making the campus look trashy and distasteful.)

I see no point in voting for senatorial candidates based on their self-glorifying signs (if anything, these signs are a strong reason against a candidate) and repeated Facebook group invites, nor do I believe the popular method of “pick an interesting name” helps to serve my interest as a student.

It doesn’t help that there is only one presidential candidate on the ticket this year. I have had the chance to hear Tyler Montell talk about his candidacy extensively, and I believe that he has the tools to be a competent SG president. Montell has the experience inside the SG organization, and he seems reasonable and responsible enough for the position.

At the same time, I can’t help but feel shortchanged as a voter.

To me, it’s not about the lone candidate being a qualified one; it’s about having two or more candidates who offer different personalities and platforms for the voters to choose from. No matter how qualified Montell is, not having an opponent to compare him with doesn’t serve justice to the spirit of democracy.

Certainly Montell is not the one to blame for the situation, nor should the fact that he is the lone candidate be counted against him. But to me, to vote for him without having another choice on the ballot is, in a way, an act of defaulting my right to choose a candidate.

This is likely the only election that I am eligible to participate in for a long time. I have to say that I am disappointed with the SG election system.

Linsen Li is a history and journalism junior. E-mail [email protected]