Tuesday, December 09, 2008
El Recall: A wrong process
Andrew Rittenburg does (perhaps accidentally) raise an important issue about the recall process itself:
I call on you, John Moghtader, to make the right decision. You admit that the recall election will happen, you claimed you would receive just as many votes as you did last spring, but at what cost?If he does receive as many votes as he did last spring, he may very well be recalled. He appeared on 825 ballots, so if 1650 folks vote for the recall it would succeed, and that's not an implausible number. Many of those voters have since graduated, as well, so the number is even lower. Obviously, he'll probably get more votes against the recall than this, but the point I want to draw attention to is this:
If the numbers of both his supporters and opponents are identical to what they were during the election, the recall could succeed.
This is an aspect of the proportional representation system. The whole point of a proportional representation system, and what differentiates it from winner-take-all systems, is that minorities can get representation. The point of a recall is so that an electorate can change its mind.
In a winner-take-all system, this works fine. A candidate needed a majority of votes to win, and if in a recall election, he no longer has that majority, maybe he should be removed. But that idea shatters in a proportional representation system. Even if no one changes their mind, recalls voted on at large can entirely remove minority representatives. If 2/3 of the electorate wanted, they could deny the other 1/3 any representation at all. This is why Moghtader's defense has focused on the fact that many of the recall supporters are those who disagree with him politically. Attempting a purge of political opponents through the recall process is entirely feasible in the ASUC's current system.
It would never happen, but perhaps the ASUC should reconsider whether the recall process is appropriate for the Senate.
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