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Nap Time!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008
Air ball

"Know what you're doing" is not useful advice to the ASUC. They never know what they're doing, and won't even if you ask them to, because very few people who are around this year will be around next year. The question the Daily Cal ought to be asking is whether we need a tabulation meeting at all.

Even in the context of a Judicial Council which declares that the Freedom of Information right does not prohibit the ASUC from deliberately withholding information from its members, there's no reason why the ASUC can't change the By-Laws to eliminate the necessity of a tabulation. They can just release the voter information (after the good faith deadline has passed, if the major parties are afraid of being held to account for their campaign violations) and let the candidates figure it out from there. There is no mystical process that takes place in tabulation that can't be automated. A specific algorithm is followed, and following that algorithm in a big room is no more public than allowing folks to follow it at home.

What's the real benefit to filling a room beyond capacity and creating fire hazards so that the Elections Council can engage in a bit of theater ("Oh, look, the results are coming... BEHOLD!") to allow one side to deafeningly scream in triumph right at the face of the other that breaks into tears? Comedy? Sure, but humiliating ASUC candidates for my amusement hardly seems like a traditional goal. Transparency? The ASUC abandoned transparency long ago. At the end of the day, all we have is the Elections Council's word that the voter file they use is the right one. That isn't any more convincing when it takes place in a filled room. If they were really concerned about transparency, party representatives would watch as the IT dudes handed the vote information CD to the Elections Council, and then follow it to tabulation. In reality, they'd have to watch as the CD was created. And even with this setup (which is required by the By-Laws but more or less ignored), there's no need for a tabulation meeting, because the party representatives will have to continue to watch to make sure the correct vote file is made official.

I blame "that's the way we've always done it"ism. It's tough to break out of. When party signatories were dropping candidates before tabulation when there was absolutely no reason to do so (and, in fact, a possibility of a drawback), they're doing it because they've always done it. It seems especially odd that this is such a strong force, though, since turnover is high.

posted by Beetle Aurora Drake 4/18/2008 08:16:00 PM #
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