Things To Act
Monday, February 09, 2004
 
'Free,' 'Fair,' and Irrelevent Elections: BYUSA at 'Work'
This story, along with one that ran in Friday's DU (but doesn't seem to be online) leaves one wondering whether the university even cares that BYUSA, despite not having any to begin with, is trying to destroy its credibility. The issues seem to be:

*Candidates were disqualified for having a website. It is evidently against the rules to have a website, as that might lead to communication with voters or something equally sinister. Putting aside the issue of whether the candidates knew that this was against the rules (the DU makes it into a he-said, she-said case), the fact remains that candidates apparently aren't supposed to communicate with voters. The 'campaign' is already ridiculously short--less than 48 hours of voting, next to no information about candidates other than their (badly-written) official platforms, no opportunity for structured interaction (except for one evidently unannounced Q&A in the Wilk, with DU coverage so bad that the event was either meaningless, or the 99% of the student body who didn't attend is left thinking it was), etc. Why even have candidates campaign?--just have them anonymously post their platforms, and let the 10% of the student body that bothers to vote cast votes based on punctuation or something.

*A campaign team was disqualified during the voting process. And removed from the ballots. And voters who voted in the first half of the election cycle couldn't recast their votes. Changing the rules during the process sparked quite a controversy in Florida four years ago. The basic problem, in addition to some voters being disenfranchised) is that we have no way of knowing whether those whose votes weren't counted would have voted disproportionately for another candidate--for all we know, #3 should be in the finals, and either of the top two not. Once the voting had started, given the 'technology limitations' constraining the options, the administration should have waited for voting to close to make any official announcement--if the affected candidate lost by a large margin, no problem, and if not, the primary could either be rerun or, even if not, the candidate would still be disqualified without disrupting the process and allowing some votes to count more than others.

*And, with all of those problems, and a 16-vote margin, the DU runs a headline
Glanzer, Nielson win BYU primary election. Which, or course, they didn't, as there were likely easily more than 16 votes in doubt given the above-discussed rule changes. Perhaps students should vote against those candidates just to offset the advantage the DU is trying to give them.

*Other concerns, such as the 'self-policing' that turns spying into a viable campaign strategy, or the DU's biased coverage against some candidates, are also valid. But what's the point? The irrelevant 'student service' association is now shown (yet again) to have biased 'elections' whose rules are designed to prevent voters from actually learning about the candidates. Arthur Henry King was right.

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