Election fails candidates

After the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) elections this semester, our editorial board congratulated the students’ union on its successful implementation of online voting, which pushed turnout to 35 per cent and proceeded nearly flawlessly. Evidently, we were too quick to dole out the congratulations. Laurier, they screwed up again.

In politics it is well established that ordering bias does exist. For example, survey research designs randomize possible responses and candidates for all levels of government see it as an advantage to have their name at the top of the ballot. This is even more true when public knowledge is low and general apathy is high. In other words, this is particularly relevant when it comes to the board of directors elections for those without established name recognition or incumbency. There was solid reasoning for the randomization of candidate names on the ballot that was exercised in the past.

In this election candidates were listed alphabetically. The effect of this failure can clearly be seen. Of new director candidates in the race, three of the bottom four on the alphabet failed to be elected. Only three of the new director candidates placed more than one rank away than would have been predicted by the alphabet alone. It is evident that the failure of the board of directors to institute name randomization on the ballot had a bearing on the results.

There is no good reason why the ballot wasn’t randomized. The fact that the chair of the board would simply dismiss the results as a “coincidence” when faced with knowledge of widely-accepted ordering bias, displays a profound degree of ignorance considering that he, along with the board he led, was tasked with ensuring fairness in the election rules.

We have said it before and we are saying it again, the students of Laurier deserve better.

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