The UCSD Guardian
Editorial Runoff voting
system would improve UCSD
January 16, 2003
At the Jan. 8 meeting of the A.S. Council, the
council voted 14-1 to create an ad hoc committee to review current
voting procedures for A.S. elections while exploring other methods
that could possibly improve the elections process.
One type of
voting system that has been discussed by councilmembers is the
implementation of an instant runoff system. In an election conducted
with the instant runoff system, voters rank the candidates in order
of preference. If one candidate receives a majority of the votes
cast in his favor, he or she wins the election. If a majority is not
reached initially, the least-voted-for candidate is eliminated from
contention and his or her voters have their votes changed to the
candidate who is preferred next. This process is repeated until one
candidate garners 50 percent of the popular vote.
runoff voting system allows voters to cast their choice for an ideal
candidate while being assured that their vote will count when it
matters most. A national campaign to implement instant runoff has
been led by the Green Party -- an organization that has drawn fire
from Democratic loyalists who feel that the party has weakened the
American left by tapping into the liberal voter pool, thereby
weakening their overall chance at electing a liberal candidate.
Greens contend that if there had been an instant runoff intact
during the 2000 presidential election, Ralph Nader would not have
been blamed for former Vice President Al Gore's loss of Florida's
crucial electoral votes.
Critics of the system cite that converting
to the new format would be too costly and too confusing. At the
campus level, converting to instant runoff would only require an
alteration in computer code considering all A.S. elections are
conducted via StudentLink. The instant runoff system is no more
confusing than choosing another ice cream flavor upon learning that
the store is out of rocky road.
The Guardian believes that a
candidate should only be elected if he or she is preferred by the
majority of the voters, and that the A.S. Council has taken a
progressive step toward ensuring that future elections are conducted
efficiently by initiating such a study.