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Monday, November 08, 2004

THELMO ELECTIONS FAR FROM FAIR

BREAKING NEWS: Election Fraud from Florida to Ohio, to SLU

THELMO ELECTIONS FAR FROM FAIR

As everybody should know by now, this week is Thelmo Elections, voting started today, and will go through the end of the week. Thelmo elections have been historically modeled after other democratic elections such as those held in the United States. In elections across the US, there has been a shift towards electronic voting, which eliminates the paper trail, and makes it virtually impossible to track votes. As was shown in the 2000 presidential elections, especially in Florida, electronic voting causes great havoc on our so-called democracy. Four years later, in the 2004 presidential elections, voter fraud ran rampant once again. I could write ten pages outlining reports of voter fraud from all over the country, much of which was caused by or related to the use of electronic voting machines, but that is for another post (some ideas for places to look for yourself include a report from www.commoncause.org stating that “Voting in 2004 was more problematic than in 2000,” or any of the dozens of stories outline at http://indymedia.us/en/). The point here is that in this falls Thelmo election our student government has taken tips from the experts of voter fraud who stole the last two “elections” for our fearless dictator, Bush.

Here on campus, voter irregularities take a different form, and don't even seem to be hidden. In this year’s online voting system, all students who vote are REQUIRED to vote for one candidate for EVERY single position available, even if only one candidate is running for a position.

For example: Adam Casler is running (unopposed) for student body president. The way the online voting system works, any student who wants to vote, must vote for Casler, even if they disagree greatly with his conservative agenda. What this means is that Casler will inevitably win the election with 100% of the popular vote, which certainly insinuates a "mandate" even though it is possible that only a tiny fragment of the voting student body actually want Casler as student body president. Everyone else is simply FORCED into voting for Casler if they want to vote at all.

To make matters worse, thrown in on the ballot are other measures, comparable to measures added to ballots across the country for things like illegalizing gay marriage, raising local taxes, or passing a schools budget. The referendums added to this years Thelmo ballot, include choosing bands for the spring concert, questions about smoking on campus, and other issues on campus which students may feel strongly. However, with the new online voting system, it is impossible for students to weigh in on these important issues, to help decide what bands will play on campus, or what measures are taken to limit smokers and improve air quality on campus. Many students (those who like Casler and those who may disagree with him) want a say in other issues on campus. The online voting system requires that EVERY STUDENT who wants a say in campus entertainment, campus safety, or other campus issues on this year’s ballot, IS REQUIRED TO VOTE FOR ADAM CASLER AS PRESIDENT OF THE STUDENT BODY.

Perhaps it has not occurred to anybody other than the quick staff here at TBOC!, but it seems painfully obvious that this is not how a democratic election should be run. Imagine for a moment you have left the soft little bubble that is SLU. You are a republican, rich and happy at home in a suburb of Boston. Imagine going down to the polls on Election Day. Your children attend the local elementary school, and the only person running for chair of the school board is a crazy leftist who plans to start a sex-ed program beginning in Kindergarten. You feel your little innocent daughter should not be exposed to different kinds of birth control, or learn how to put condoms on a banana. However, you really want the school budget to pass so that your kids’ classroom and get a new computer, and the library can be expanded. Additionally, you feel strongly that Rush Limbaugh would make a better president than incumbent Hillary Clinton. You learn upon entering the polls that in order to vote (in your case for the school budget and against the female presidential incumbent), you HAVE to vote for the man who wants to teach your 6 year old daughter about BC pills and the wonders of masturbation. Is this FAIR? Why can't you just vote in the races of which you are knowledgeable and feel strongly about, leaving your vote blank for politicians you are strongly against ideologically. Why should someone get 100% of the vote even if they only have 1% of the population supporting them, just because nobody else ran for that one position?

That is specifically what students all over SLU are asking this week as they cast their forced ballots in this fixed election.


WHAT CAN YOU DO?


There are two viable options for fixing this problem on our campus. We have a voice, a collective voice to tell the right-wingers in Thelmo they can't take away our right to fair elections. The first option is to organize a massive boycott of the Thelmo Elections until the problem is solved and the poor decision made by our student government is changed. The second, and perhaps more viable option, is to take the route they suggest. The election board in Thelmo has informed students that if they do not want to vote for Casler, they can email the Thelmo election chair Jon Cardinal at jkcard04@stlawu.edu, and request an absentee ballot. Heck, why not request one for all your friends too! While this is a difficult, time consuming and not very realistic opt-out policy that we feel confident very few students at SLU will take the time to partake in, it is possible to use it against them to show that we care about fair elections. We realize that a few people may have voted today, but if the rest of the student body takes this step, especially if they wait until Thursday to do so, it will swamp the Thelmo election staff and prove to them that the students at SLU will not put up with their undemocratic and possibly even illegal voting procedures. Only then will this weeks Thelmo elections even come close to resembling a fair, democratic election.


Many folks believe that "Your Vote is Your Voice," But here at TBOC!, we believe our collective voice is much much stronger than just a vote.

2 Comments:

  • is adam casler an ass sucking opportunist who cares only about whatever makes him feel most influential at the moment?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:37 PM  

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