Fair Elections for Student Governments
Interest in fair elections
systems for student elections around the country has been gaining
momentum. More and more schools are using Instant Runoff
single winner elections like student body president. And some
schools have also added the Choice Voting
method of full representation
for their legislative elections.
This has been evidenced by two recent victories
at major U.S. universities.
University of California at Davis
On February 20, students at UCD voted 67%-33% to use
choice voting for Associated Student Senate elections and IRV for
presidential elections. The California
reports on the
Duke Student Government will elect
their six executive committee members through instant runoff voting.
After approving the system for this spring's elections, officials
have since decided the ballot counting proceedures will not be
ready until spring 2004. Read coverage of the change from The Chronicle
Building on our Success
To create a strong base to work from, we
are currently compiling a list of Student Governments that engage in
some kind of fair elections method. Below is a list of the
schools we have found, and what system they use. The list is
far from complete however, so please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of
any schools not on our list that use full
representation voting method such as IRV or PR.
For more information on how to
pursue IRV at your school, please see Using Instant
Runoff Voting in School Elections
The Rice Student Assembly uses IRV to elect the
members of their Executive Committee. The most recent election for
President included six candidates and 11 rounds of voting. Read more
in the Rice
College of William and Mary
Assembly at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA approved IRV
for all student elections.
Carleton College (Northfield, MN)
Cumulative Voting has long been used for
legislative elections at Carleton, but in 2002, instant runoff
voting was (re-)implemented for executive positions.
"Preferential Voting" had long been in the school's constitution,
and was rediscovered when a student activist requested the student
government change its voting system. Read An Account
of how one
student put instant runoff voting back into use at Carleton.
The California Institute of
The Associated Students of the California Institute of
Technology use IRV to elect their Vice President (Board of Control
Chairman), the Board of Control Secretary, and the Interhouse
Committee Chairman as outlined in Article VIII, Section 4 & 5 of
School (Berkeley CA)
students in grades K-6 used instant runoff voting to elect the leader of
their school, the City of Franklin Elementary.
Since the 1940s, Harvard has used the hare
proportional voting system to tally their ballots for the
Harvard-Radcliffe Undergraduate council as outlined in Article II,
Section 21.4 of their Constitution.
Johns Hopkins University
JHU used instant runoff voting for its
Freshman student council elections for the first time in
the fall of 1999.
The Associated Students of Lane
Community College use choice voting to elect their officers and
senators as stated in Article IX, Section 6 of their Constitution.
has been using IRV to elect the president, vice-president and
secretary/treasurer positions. Starting in 2004, Luther wil be
used cumultive voting to three representatives from each
class. Moreover, six representatives to the Luther Diversity
Center will also use IRV.
Massachusetts Institute of
instant runoff voting and choice voting for student government
recently decided to
use the 'Borda count' method of choice voting in order
to elect their officers.
Student Government uses instant runoff voting for its
Senatorial and U-Council elections. See Article VII Section D
of their Constitution.
SU has been using choice voting
for its academic elections since 1973. In 2001 they adopted
instant runoff voting for their council President election, and this
spring the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) held
its second IRV election of its president, and for the second year in
a row, avoided a costly and inconvenient runoff election. See Results and a copy of the Online Ballot. IRV also received
good press in the student newspaper. The April 16 Top Story was an explanation of how IRV
works and why it was adopted, accompanied by a Flow Chart
April 16 edition of the paper also included an Editorial.
University of California at
UCB uses IRV and a choice voting system to elect their
officers. They use a fractional choice voting count, which is
performed manually. Their voting procedures are outlined
in Article VII, Section 5 of their Constitution.
University of Illinois,
The Student Government uses
proportional representation for legislative offices and instant
runoff voting for executive offices. 2002 will be the first
elections under these voting rules, look Here for more information.
UMD's primary campus voted in the spring of 2002 to
use IRV to elect its student government. Read editorials
about the decisions from February 2002
and April 2002
University of Michigan
UM uses the 'Borda count' voting
system within their LSA Student Government (College of Literature,
Science, and the Arts) as stated in Article VII, Section C-2 of
their Constitution. The
MSA (Michigan Student Assembly) also uses the 'Borda count' method to
elect their representatives, as outlined in Article V, Section A-1
of their Constitution.
at the University of Washington has adopted instant runoff voting
for single-winner elections and the undergraduate student government
The United Council of University
of Wisconsin Students has adopted IRV. The United
Council is the nation's oldest, largest, and strongest statewide student
association, representing over 140,000 students at 24 UW
In September of 2002 Vassar's student government voted
nearly unananimously to adopt instant runoff voting and the choice
voting form of proportional representation for future student
elections. Read CVD's Report On The
Whitman College in Walla Walla,
Washington recently passed a resolution to use IRV for its
single-seat elections and Choice Voting to elects its