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COLUMN: Candidates need to recruit opposing write-ins

Hail to the chief


Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 21:02

As counterintuitive as it is for a candidate to recruit a formidable race opponent, that’s exactly what needs to happen if these candidates truly value what’s best for the students they represent.

Before the official candidates who have declared their intentions to run for USU/SA office get up in arms about how I hate each of them personally and other such nonsense, let me clarify.

This isn’t about you. Elections are not about individual candidates. Elections are about the voters — the people paying, at least in part, for your lavish scholarships, stipends and budgets you are trusted with. These funds, positions and valued parking passes are not yours. They are not mandated as a gift for you to take and use as your own. They belong to we the students. They represent our collective money that we have trusted you to be a steward over.

Don’t you think for one second you have a right to use or campaign to use these things without public comment and criticism.

Back to my original point: If these candidates truly cared about the students and our funds they’ve been trusted with, they would go out and recruit quality opponents in their elections.

Let me rephrase that: If Casey Saxton, Zoe Fairbairn, Dallin Laird, Geoff Andrews, Samuel Wright, Shelby Clayson, Derek Hastings, Patrick Adams and Mikayla Mills really cared about the students and our funds they’ve been trusted with, they would go out and recruit quality opponents in their elections. Any candidates who do this will, in all likelihood, win my vote. If it turns out another candidate they recruit is a better fit and wins the election, that’s OK too.

The point, again, is that having the choice is more important than the position, and especially more important than the individual candidate.

It’s not as if these one-person-parade candidates should have much to fear. Write-in candidates have an uphill battle as it is, and rightly so as a punishment for not doing something as simple as meeting a deadline.

But having the ability to choose a better candidate is still most important. The Executive Council entertained a proposal Tuesday to change election bylaws to allow write-in candidates who finished first or second place in the primaries with at least 10 percent of the overall vote to have their name included on the final ballot.

The Executive Council will vote on this legislation at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

I fully support this and applaud our current student body officers’ efforts to put our best interests, as students at large, ahead of their own.

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