NCSA elections experience complications
This was a milestone election for the New College Student Alliance (NCSA). The election on Tuesday, Nov. 13 was the first election that took place entirely online, as all future NCSA elections will be. However, all but one of the candidates who ran did so as write-ins on voting day, and the one that did try to get their name on the ballot did so for a position that was not up for election. Only 50 ballots were cast in total and, in all but one of the positions, the majority of votes were abstentions.
According to the Great Book, the Supervisor of Elections must be appointed a week before the election takes place. As Isabella Cibelli Du Terroil, third-year and recently appointed Supervisor of Elections discovered, that can be quite a short amount of time to complete all the duties the position entails.
“I think it would be way better if they [appointed the Supervisor] at the start of the semester, or at least a month in advance,” Du Terroil said. “Trying to learn everything in a week is really difficult.”
The Great Book and the NCSA constitution together comprise a 69-page reading assignment for the newly appointed Supervisor, which can be difficult to learn and rightly apply during a normal election. Learning responsibilities of conducting voting procedures all in a week as well as figuring out how it all applies to online voting proves an even more challenging task.
“Whenever there’s a transition to an online platform it always presents challenges, because people are used to the old ways or technical difficulties arise,” Du Terroil said. “I only had a week to become Supervisor. I had to rush and read all the duties and responsibilities, but then some of those duties and responsibilities get shifted because of the online platform.”
But there were more than just transitional complications. Not one candidate running had registered to be on the ballot; every single one became a write-in on the last day of the campaign.
“Having people not officially run basically made this election solely a write-in election,” Du Terroil said. “Which should not be the case because when you don’t have official candidates, you don’t have extra advertisement.”
The lack of advertisement on the part of the candidates contributed to a turnout of only 50 voters, though Du Terroil expressed hopes that familiarity with voting via NovoConnect and the greater importance many students place on the spring elections will lead to higher levels of participation in the future.
“I didn’t have any idea about the election,” first-year Rhys Shanahan said. “Classes are on Tuesday and the coverage was poor.”
In addition to a lack of advertising, the number of write-in candidates led to technical difficulties, as voters needed to type in candidates’ listed names perfectly on the ballot for it to register properly on the Excel sheet.
“And then, of course, people like to write in funny things and write in essays about all sorts of things unrelated to the election or the ballot,” Du Terroil said. “That’s always fun to deal with.”
One takeaway from this election is that the Supervisor requires more time in order to do their job properly. Because of this, an amendment to the Great Book that would appoint the Supervisor a month before the election will be appearing in a future Towne Meeting. Another is the importance of official candidates, which Du Terroil reiterated in the Forum email that contained the election results.
“If you want a proper election, you need a proper ballot which requires a proper campaign,” Du Terroil said.
Student Court Justices: William Bottorff, Jan Greer, John Cotter
Counselor: Sawyer Markham
Second Year Student Allocation Committee (SAC) Representative: Agnes Bartha
Third Year SAC Representative: Ormond Derrick
Residence Life Representative: Sydney Rosenthal
Speaker of the Towne Meeting: Daniel Schell
Diversity Representative: Ozan Gokdemir
Green Affairs Representative: Zachary Schoenblatt
The positions of Student Affairs Representative and First Year SAC Representative were not able to be decided in this election, and future action is currently undecided.