Prefer This, “Congris”

I am a member of the fun-loving Rules and Judiciary Committee in Student Congress.  Last night we again looked at a bill put forward to change the way that students vote in student body elections.  Students would rank candidates according to their preference instead of casting one vote. 

 I apologize for boring you with a short history, but one is necessary: 

When I first read this plan three weeks ago, I was confused.  The wording confused me, the idea seemed silly, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around why someone would propose such a thing.  And so, my instinct was to pass the bill on to congress without prejudice, meaning that our committee would neither recommend the bill for passage nor recommend that congress fail the bill.  I figured that a lively discussion, unbiased by our recommendation, would be worthwhile. 

The idea , however, was not popular among the members present at the committee meeting three weeks ago.  Instead, a motion to pass the bill favorably was proposed, and the majority of members consented. 

In full congress members voted to send the bill back to our committee — again.  There, last night, after voting to pass the thing unfavorably, we voted (nearly the next second, certainly the next minute) to reconsider the bill and ended up (after forty-five minutes or more of wasted time) passing the thing without prejudice — what I tried to do three weeks ago. 

I voted against passing the bill favorably three weeks ago and I voted against passing it without prejudice last night.  The latter resulted from three weeks spent thinking about it.  I realized that preferential balloting takes away the ability of students to know for whom they actually end up voting.  This is due to the fact that if your vote is not final.  Honestly, I don’t even think I’ve wrapped my head around it. 

Needless to say, it is a confusing plan with little merit.  I think it would  be confusing to students and I don’t think it would be worth the money that they say it will save because I think the headaches to be wrought by incompetent student government officials is, as of yet, unimaginable. 

If congress wants to save money and time, congress ought to consider dissolving the self-aggrandizing institution of student congress.

1 comment

  1. I think that the concept of rank voting is an obvious failure to apply what essentially is a viable fundamental key concept. The principle at-hand is simple; voters have varying levels of support for various candidates, and in a world where we chose been a selection of evils, we want to be able to support both the lesser and the least evil. However, why this can be achieved when there is an even distribution of the weighting between candidates is far beyond me. Instead of being the most logical means to further the main concept, it is an obvious failure.

    If we wanted the most logical and effective system for furthering the principle of variable support, we would give every voter 100 votes (for the simple beauty of percentages), and let them cast these for up to 5 candidates. Let people determine HOW much they support their 3rd choice versus their 2nd choice, and thus really give them some control is dictating how the eventual system reflects their intentions for having their political power sublimated. Could this simply become another 1 vote system, with everyone casting 100% all the time for their favorite option? You bet. But it gives people the freedom to dictate their actual opinion, versus forcing them into an awkward 'solution' that can barely be ostensibly correlated to achieving the intended purpose of this system.

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