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Adopting Fair Elections for
Student Governments

March 2003

Big Wins!

Interest in fair elections systems for student elections around the country has been gaining momentum. More and more schools are following the recommendations of Roberts Rules of Order and using instant runoff voting (also called "preferential voting") for 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 San Diego

After the Associated Students formed a Voting Systems Task Force to study the benefits of 10 different voting methods, IRV was chosen as best option for electing their executive officers. Read a press release about the move.

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 Aggie reports on the change.

Duke University

Duke Student Government will elect their six executive committee members through instant runoff voting. After approving the system for this spring, officials will be able to avoid a costly runoff for the spring 2004 election. Read coverage of the change from The Chronicle .

Building on our Success

Fair elections systems such as instant runoff voting and choice voting are especially suited to student government elections because of the diverse voting population and the high possibility for three or more candidates. CVD, as the nation’Äôs leading advocate of these reforms is interested in improving student government elections for all students. This site will provide an introduction to possible reforms and why they fit into the student government format.

In addition, we are currently compiling a list of Student Governments that engage in some kind of fair elections method.  This list will serve as a clearinghouse of examples for other schools to follow. Some schools currently use only IRV or only Choice Voting, and some use both. We have separated the site into two sections.

                                        IRV                                   Choice Voting    

These lists are not complete however, so please notify us at [email protected] if you know of any schools not on our list that use fair elections voting methods. We have also collected a series of news articles related fair elections in student government.

In addition to providing resources to students interested in fair elections at their schools, CVD also has experience with the administration of elections at schools and for private companies and organizations.

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Copyright 2002     The Center for Voting and Democracy
6930 Carroll Ave. Suite 610, Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-4616        [email protected]