WLUSU needs electoral reform

To declare a majority, one must have
more than 50 per cent of the vote and
Walker’s success was dictated by
receiving 43 per cent.

Following the yearly student herding that is the Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union election in early February, a new president was selected to lead the students’ union for the upcoming year.

While Kyle Walker will claim legitimacy in this election because he had the most votes, winning the most votes in his case does not necessarily equate a majority of support.

To declare a majority, one must have more than 50 per cent of the vote and Walker’s success was dictated by receiving 43 per cent.

Unfortunately, given the current electoral system it is extremely difficult to declare a majority when there are more than two candidates running.

WLUSU needs electoral reform where the president would be required to gain a majority of support (over 50 per cent) in an election, which can best be achieved through a ranked balloting system.

To be fair, last year the WLUSU board of directors made note of the need for electoral reform and recommended that the union switch to a single transferable vote (STV) ranked ballot system.

At the time it was passed, this was dependant on switching to online voting; since neither of these has yet to come into effect, WLUSU has thus far failed to bring about the necessary changes to ensure a representative voting system.

Although Canadian politicians often experience similar percentages to Walker’s – local MP Peter Braid only received 36 per cent of the vote in the last election – this is not something that we should strive for.

To either use Canada’s model because it is there, or to defend WLUSU’s archaic electoral structure based upon its similarities with this model shows an acceptance of the status quo, not an acknowledgement that progress is essential in governance.

What we need of WLUSU is evolution, not stagnation.

A necessary step in electoral reform is a progressive ballot system which ensures that a president has a majority of the votes to be elected.

Possibilities could include a ranked balloting system where voters select candidates in a numerical order in which they rank the candidates from their most to least favourite.

Candidates are removed and votes recounted until one candidate has a majority of the votes.
This process ensures that the winning candidate has the majority of student support.

A ranked balloting model is a means of graduation from our elementary selection process and constructs an election process where students maintain control, as opposed to an inadequate voting process controlling us.

The ideal ranked ballot system

-Voters select candidates in a numerical order; they rank the candidates from their most to least favourite.

-In the case that no candidate has gained a majority in the first vote count, candidates with the least number of votes are removed from the race and those who have voted for them transfer their ballot to the candidate they have ranked second. If students chose to have no secondary candidate, their ballot is thrown out following the elimination of their candidate.

-Candidates are removed and votes are recounted until one candidate has a majority of the votes.

Where ranked balloting is used:

-Conservative Party of Canada

-Ireland

-Australia’s Senatorial Elections

Comments are closed.