CC Elections and JOSE: An apathetic triumph

So the College Council elections moved along nicely. First of all, I’d like to congratulate all the efforts made to cater to the student body’s sense of apathy. The online voting system is a smart move, because if voting requires any expenditure of effort, everyone will stay home. I plead guilty to the apathy charge; I voted because I was procrastinating on a paper. If I had to walk down eight flights of stairs and over to Baxter, it wouldn’t happen. Heck, if I had to leave my desk, I might have still skipped it.

But since everything was online, I voted. And I noticed that there were spaces for write-in candidates, which is another fine way to work with student apathy. Nobody wants to vote for either side in a race they don’t care about, but if every write-in result is tallied, it’s worthwhile (in the loose sense of the term) to vote for a friend, just to see their name on the ballot. So I voted for my friend Tom for one position. Then it occurred to me to start an impromptu campaign for him and ask everyone to write him in. He was nominated in nearly every position, taking up to seven votes in some of them.

And my friend Darik (whom I also spontaneously nominated) got 19 votes for MinCo Rep. Ah, MinCo Rep. Only one person was listed as running, and there were two slots, thus everyone had the same idea and many write in votes were cast. Scads. I’d wager that most people don’t care too much about the position, but seeing an open spot meant that writing a name down became a fun thing to do since you might win. And it’s the same dumb sense of fun that makes me happy to see my friends’ names as write-in candidates with one or two votes apiece. Some people were more interested in the outcome of the write-in battle than in any of the official elections. So let’s hear it for student apathy! Or not, whatever.

Still, there was one main complaint I had about JOSE, which is that you can only cast positive votes. In some of the races there’s no one candidate you really want to win, but there is one candidate you really want to lose. I think we should be able to cast negative votes, take our vote and send the message “Please, elect anyone but this person!” If we have a truly democratic voting system, we should be able to vote for “NOT X,” where we believe that anyone aside from X would be qualified to do the job. If you cast a negative vote, you wouldn’t get any positive votes in that category. But it would allow the expression of severe disapproval for a candidate.

If we really wanted to bring the negative vote idea to fruition, we could simply run all elections by process of elimination. We start with every student running for every position, those uninterested in running must submit an email removing themselves from the candidate pool, and then tallies of negative votes are constantly taken to see who will be thrown out of the race each week. That’s the way presidential elections work, only nobody is supposed to say it out loud.

What, you think anyone believes that either Gore or Bush will be a good president? No, they are merely voting against the one they think would be awful. We may as well start viewing politics the right way. Our job is to elect the candidate we hate the least. Nobody has actually liked a candidate since Adlai Stevenson, and intellectuals aren’t allowed to be president anyway. At this point, I think Jesse Ventura could do as good a job as the frontrunner for either party, and would at least show more personality.

But who cares? Elections will end soon, and it will be time for spring break. Spring break: a time when college students traditionally travel to exotic locales and party, party and party. I will be going home and sleeping, sleeping and sleeping. Lots of sleeping, sitting, staring at walls, some eating, etc…I could hang out with my friends, were it not for the fact that every other college in the United States and Guam has a spring break on a different schedule. (Not that I’m complaining. Please don’t take away Winter Study; I like having a month to just hang out.)

Still, I wonder if everyone else is going to Cancun for spring break and I’m the only one who will spend it waking at noon and eating cereal in front of the TV all day. I could spend it going over schoolwork and studying for class, but there’s no point in even bringing the books home, as I’ll never do any work over spring break because I don’t have the motivation. In conclusion, I’d like to thank all my professors for not reading the previous sentence.

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