Election process should be simplified, keeping tickets intact

Today, students can begin voting for next year’s Student Government (SG) elections through OrgSync. In order to vote for their preferred ticket, or executive team, they will need to vote for each individual candidate for president, vice president and treasurer.

This system of individual voting does not match well with the way campaigning works on campus. Because the candidates create their platforms and campaigns entirely as group tickets rather than as distinct individuals, structuring the ballots as if the candidates were running as individuals is confusing and counterproductive.

First, it is highly unlikely that students will elect a split ticket – the appointment of candidates from different tickets. During campaign week, voters get to know the candidates by their ticket affiliation, not by their individual faces. The banners, palm cards, debates and town hall meetings around campus all publicize the ticket as a whole, so students are more familiar with the logos and ticket names rather than the individuals. Because the platforms are crafted through the teamwork and ideas of all candidates on the ticket, it is unclear to students what voting for candidates from different parties would mean in terms of the initiatives to be carried out in the following year. Whose ideas would they be electing to the office?

In addition, leaving the possibility open for a split ticket could be detrimental to a team’s efficiency. Compatibility is important and if candidates are spliced together from two or three different parties with different priorities and ideas, working together may be difficult. Each ticket campaigns with ideas that were drafted up together and initiatives that are understood and agreed upon by the entire team. When an entire ticket is elected together, as has been the case for the past five years, the elected executive officers already know what to work on and what to prioritize.

The election format should be revisited. Either the ballot should adapt to the campaigning practices, or vice versa. While running as individuals is technically allowed by the Elections Commission, traditionally and in practice, individual candidates are uncommon. If voting for individuals truly gives students more options, then there is no reason to encourage candidates to run with ticket affiliations at all. However, if the ticket system really is the simplest option, then the ballot should be simplified to straight-ticket voting.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.