Opinion: Time to work together to create a better governance

Posted on Oct 8 2018 - 5:50am by Levi Bevis

During campus elections, you were probably bombarded with more stickers and people reminding you to vote than you ever could have wanted. Despite the overabundance of stickers and campaigning, student elections are a vital part of our campus life that provide us with the unique opportunity to select student leaders to either represent our interests in the Associated Student Body or to represent our campus within the larger LOU community.

As with most things, there is always room for improvement in our election processes, and an opportunity to provide input on those changes has developed over the past few weeks. Following Katherine Sistrunk’s resignation as the ASB attorney general, which is the student government official responsible for overseeing all elections and election processes, the ASB created an Elections Reform Taskforce and placed Sistrunk and Leah Davis, the ASB principal of Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement on the ASB president’s cabinet, in charge of it. This taskforce was established to review current election procedures and propose solutions to resolve them. It is important, now more than ever, that we speak up and speak out about problems in our current system and work together to find sound solutions.

Why should election reform matter to you?

Election reform directly affects your ability to engage with our campus and share your voice. In the most recent personality election, just under 5,000 students voted in the primary election on Sept. 18, according to the official ASB voting results. In the runoff election held on Sept. 20 to determine Mr. and Miss Ole Miss, fewer than 4,000 students voted. This means approximately 20 percent or less of our campus actually decided who won these important positions in the most recent election. Every vote counts, and it truly cannot be overstated how much your voicematters in these elections. Ensuring your voice is being heard is just as important as participating in the election itself, and election reforms can make sharing your voice easier and more convenient.

As members of this campus community, it is vital that we actively participate in and contribute back to our community. It is our responsibility to ensure that our university is better when we leave than when we arrived. Election reform also provides us with an opportunity to create lasting change for the better by developing sound systems and infrastructure which promote more fairness and accessibility in our elections.

For these reasons and more, it is incredibly important that we get involved with our campus election reform. Email your ASB campus senator. Talk to your friends about how we can best improve our elections. Share your concerns, frustrations and suggestions with ASB officials.

Election reform of this magnitude may not come again for a while. It is vital that we share our voices and work together to create a system that operates in all of our best interests. This year, our future is on the ballot, and it is time that we, the student body, vote for ourselves.

Levi Bevis is a senior public policy leadership major from Florence, Alabama.