Democracy seems to have trouble in Florida, again

If the microcosm of USF is any indication, democracy is not working in the state of Florida.

As part of the epic battle to become student body president, both tickets competing in the run-off election last Wednesday and Thursday were disqualified. No winner was proclaimed.

In both cases, the reasons are ridiculous.

The Omar Khan and Ryan Morris ticket was disqualified because somebody had passed out flyers in support of their ticket in a classroom. This, the committee argued, was a direct violation of election rules’ committee rule 10.2.8, which prohibits any party running in such an election to use a room in which regular classes were held as their location to solicit votes.

This rule makes sense in the form it must have been intended, which would prevent somebody from using their power in the classroom, or even the professor’s power, to influence people to vote.

This was not the case, though, as the person apparently was not affiliated with Khan (the matter is still under investigation). How fair is it to disqualify him and Morris because some student felt like handing out flyers during a break in class?

The Michael Berman and Ronda Bostick ticket was disqualified for even more ridiculous reasons: For violating rule 10.2.6, which states that “no physical/mental intimidation or abuse” exercised by one ticket on the other will be tolerated.

The “abuse” that is alleged in this case seems more fitting for a high school cafeteria, as some members of the Berman election committee apparently e-mailed members of Khan’s election committe and called them “aholes.”

While this alleged action is also still under investigation, let me ask this: How stupid can you be to do this? Why waste not only your time, but also those of all involved helping in the election, not to mention those that voted, by committing such childish actions that are bound to be discovered?

In either case, it is sad that only 2,539 students of the 39,170 registered at this university voted, which amounts to 6.5 percent. Is it that hard to step up to any computer on campus, or even at home, and cast a vote? Maybe if they had campaigned on a “free beer for all” platform, more people would have cared about how their money was going to be used.

What is even more troubling, though, is not only the complete lack of interest most students seemed to have in this election, but the parallels to national elections in recent history.

The Student Government’s Supreme Court decision of which ticket, if not both, will remain disqualifid is expected today, and it will set the precedent for future courses of action.

About this, Khan said last week “We trust that our Supreme Court will remain neutral and unbiased in this situation,” even though Berman has known Justice Dustin Sachs for some years now, as both have been working for SG.

Sachs himself has said, though, that he did not feel he should remove himself from the decision-making process for being biased, even though he knows Berman and not Khan.

The whole thing, while probably not as important, just smacks of a repetition of the “Indecision 2000” debacle following the last presidential election. Back then, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to stop the recounts, thereby handing the state of Florida to George W. Bush and, in effect, appointing him president.

So if this is any indication, I take it Berman will win. I hope we can resolve this in a somewhat fairer form before democracy on the whole will be banned in the state of Florida, as it apparently doesn’t work here.

Sebastian Meyer is a junior majoring in environmental