After last year’s chaotic elections, many students celebrated this season’s single-ticket ballot. Although the consolidation of talented, battle-tested students into one ticket reflected the ticket’s combined competence, experience and appeal, this campaign season has not been without its faults. The one-ticket race revealed to Georgetown’s student body that there are significant problems with the policies of the Georgetown University Student Administration Election Commission that place write-in candidates at an ample, unfair disadvantage. To address the systemic setbacks that these often qualified and appealing, but late, tickets face, the Election Commission should modify the eligibility requirements and remove — with some conditions — the strict deadline for when a ticket can officially join the race.
Students should always have a choice between candidates. However, this election cycle has proven that this choice may be inhibited by the one of two information sessions the Electoral Commission requires potential candidates to attend. This is not to say that those sessions are without merit — a better race is run when all candidates are fully aware of the requirements of and limitations to running a GUSA presidential campaign. However, this rule may disqualify many otherwise eligible, competent students simply because they did not start planning out their campaign months in advance. These late tickets face disadvantages that range from access to publicity to being given a place on the ballot box.
It should never be too late to start a campaign. In addition to the modification above, the Election Commission should remove the deadline for when a ticket can be placed on the ballot box in favor of a rolling process that would require tickets to submit a serious budget proposal and garner the signature of 250 students, a number representing 10 percent of likely voters in any given GUSA presidential election. As long as the ticket can deliver on these two items, it should be given a position on the ballot box, as opposed to being written in. Often, students do not know how to correctly writein candidates, and their votes get disqualified. For students who already feel that their votes count very little in the overall race, this is a dismal thought.
This Editorial Board hopes that, in future campaigns, students will have the opportunity to choose between highly qualified tickets. But for this to happen, it is necessary that the Election Commission modify its practices to promote a better, fairer democratic process.
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