Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"God Save the Irish"

Apparently, my "abstain" vote in the ongoing election to determine our next, illustrious Student Body President... didn't count.

From the Observer:
This is the first election in which abstentions were eliminated from the vote count so that candidates need receive only 50 percent of votes cast for a specific candidate to win the election.

Judicial Council president Ashley Weiss said the change in tallying abstentions ensures the abstaining votes could not block a ticket from receiving the necessary 50 percent, as happened in the 2007 student body elections. That election was decided by a Senate vote [ed. note: Seriously??], resulting in the election of student body president Liz Brown and student body vice president Maris Braun.

"We introduced this as a safety net to make sure it doesn't happen again," Weiss said. Weiss and vice president of elections Danny Smith expressed disappointment with posters placed in dorms and South Dining Hall encouraging students to vote "abstain." One such poster read: "Domers wants you to vote abstain. God save the Irish."

Now, Smith and Weiss (both personal acquaintances) are the candidates who were hurt most by the "abstain" votes last year, after a member of Student Government threw up posters to that effect all over campus (scandalizing the righteous within the ranks of SG). I was not unduly influenced at that time, since I have voted "abstain" in every election since I've been at Notre Dame. I do not, however, see the value in lamenting the fact that there are similar posters out there this year and, more to the point, that there are students out there who don't give a lick about the bloated, sanctimonious apparatus that is Student Government.

If there is even the merest possibility that a voting majority of students could form to cast "abstain" e-ballots and thus achieve the twofold purpose of (1) expressing our electoral contempt and (2) derailing the functioning of student government for a year, should we not be allowed to dream? My personal esteem for Ms. Weiss and Mr. Smith aside, Weiss has by this act of tyranny - qua president of the J-Board - transmuted herself into the destroyer of my anarchist fantasies.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that, after flooding the inbox of every ND student with multiple emails telling them to vote, less than half (3,861) actually followed the link provided and cast a ballot in support of the mostly worthless institution that is the office of Student Body President (worthless, that is, if its not going on your resume). As Danny Smith rationalized, however:
"It's better than last year, and it's a higher percentage than most other [student government] programs at other schools," he said.
Notre Dame: Leading the Way in Narcissistic Bandwagonry Since 2008.

God Save the Irish.


Ben said...

Matt, Let's man the barricades! Down with student gov!

Someone suggested at production last week that the only way student government could make itself useful would be to give its huge budget back to the students as "tuition reimbursement". If I had another year of college, I would run with this as my platform.

Matt Smith said...

My guess is that you'd win in a landslide.

Campaign to Abstain said...

Perhaps what is needed is an ongoing, more energetic campaign to abstain. Perhaps with a flashy .com campaign website, or more memorable posters.

Anonymous said...

"Leading the Way in Narcissistic Bandwagonry Since 2008."

this is why you rock. yessssss