In the world of a USF student, 18 days go by in the blink of an eye. During this time of the semester, which is usually taken up by midterms, students have a lot to do. They may also work a part-time job or be heavily involved in campus organizationsYet these same students, who are already crunched for time, are being asked to decide their next student body president after a brief 18-day campaign season, as voting opens to students today.
Whatever the reason for the shortened election season, the number of candidates should not be a factor: Whether there are two tickets running or 10, 18 days still is not enough time for students to decide.
To assist in increasing turnout, the Elections Rules Comission’s Supervisor of Elections Devin Lee said in the Feb. 19 Oracle that computerized outdoor polling stations would be set up on campus. This is a laudable effort on the ERC’s part – yet while it may help increase voter turnout, this begs the question: Will the students who vote at these polling stations be as informed as they should be?
Therefore, the ERC is going to get from these election campaign tactics what it has put into them – a rushed student body that may be voting for a ticket it is uncertain about. It is unfair and irresponsible to expect people to make a decision about their next leader in such a short period of time – unless the ERC does not believe that the student body should take seriously the decision of who should lead the Student Government executive branch next.
If student elections and their processes are supposed to mimic real ones, this year’s student body president campaign is certainly not following suit. As contemptible as the national government may be, at least the 2008 presidential candidates have been gearing up for and gaining awareness about their campaigns since fall of last year, giving the public more than enough time to decide.
So if because of the shortened campaign season, students do not feel as if they are ready to make the decision of who should be their next student body president, they shouldn’t. Just because voting will be made easier this year doesn’t mean it has been made smarter.