stump to amend ASUCD voting
By Ryan P.
November 22, 2002
In the wake of this fall's ASUCD elections, members of
the UC Davis Green Party have begun collecting signatures for an
initiative that would amend the ASUCD Constitution by implementing
instant runoff systems and proportional representation.
The Choice Voting Amendment, authored by Sonny
Mohammedzahed and Chris Jerdonek, would enact two changes to the
current election system.
"We are trying to instill a voting system that gives
the voter more power and has a greater reach," Mohammedzahed said.
"A lot of math studies have shown that plurality voting doesn't
represent the voters accurately."
Instead of bulleting the choices, voters would be
asked to rank candidates in order of their preference.
Kris Fricke, fall 2002 ASUCD Senate candidate and
signature collector for the Choice Voting Amendment, said that the
change would prevent runoff elections by simulating what would have
happened if one were to occur.
The change would save costs and keep voters interested
in the election, Fricke said.
Mohammedzahed said that the change would increase
turnout in ASUCD elections because voters would feel like their
votes count more.
Stanford University, UC Berkeley and Harvard
University, which already use instant runoff voting, are set up
somewhat differently than ASUCD's government but have about the same
number of senators who vote on policies that affect the lives of
In winter 2002, candidates from the Student Focus and
Leadership, Empowerment, Activism and Determination tickets faced
one another in a runoff election, which elicited about 240 fewer
votes than the regular election.
ASUCD reported that the cost for holding an election
is roughly $4,000; the cost of holding a runoff election can run
anywhere from $300 to $500, which includes publishing advertisements
in The California Aggie, paying for poll workers and posting
The second component of the initiative would staff the
senate according to the proportion of the vote that a ticket
If the initiative collects the necessary 1,500
signatures, it will be put to a vote in the ASUCD winter 2003
Fricke said that, so far, he thinks students want to
see this initiative on the ballot.
"There are a good number of students who are
interested in seeing this system change," Fricke said.
Similarly, Mohammedzahed said that students have shown
interest in the change.
"There have been a lot of good responses from
students, particularly in the political science department," he
If the initiative passes, it will go into effect
beginning with the ASUCD fall 2003 election.
The attempt to amend the ASUCD Constitution is part of
a broader movement within California, Mohammedzahed said.
He noted that many European and Latin American
countries use proportional representation and instant runoff voting
"The strength of the democracy is its citizens,"
Mohammedzahed said. "I would like to see this spark a revolution in
state and national elections."