Tuesday, September 18

Council argues over suffrage semantics


USAC votes to allow students to vote on their future voting format "“ on paper, or online

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The Undergraduate Student Association Council voted last night
7-5 to approve a spring ballot item that would ask students how
they would prefer to vote. The item was meant to advise next
year’s council on student preference in light of a movement
by administrators and students to switch from campus paper
balloting to online voting.

Sadly USAC appointed the Election Board members too late to
begin online voting this year, a move that would have enfranchised
numerous voters studying abroad, or students who would have found
it more convenient. The Graduate Student Association began online
voting last year and their turnout increased from 10 to 15 percent,
a 50 percent increase in absolute figures.

Though council members sadly spent more than an hour arguing
over the semantics of the item’s language, the meeting
illustrated the sharp divisions among council. Student Empowerment!
members are wary of online voting because their political
strategies lend more to lobbying voters on their way to paper
ballots. There are also fears that the Greek system, which often
pressures members to vote their slate in, would abuse the system by
making it easier for block voting to occur due to the convenience
of going online from the frat or sorority house.

This issue, despite council’s bickering, is not a matter
of semantics ““ it’s a matter of the enfranchisement
which online voting will promote. Perhaps when council realizes
this they’ll do what’s needed to empower students,
rather than limiting their ability to cast their vote.

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