After enduring much campaigning and commotion, students will be able to cast their online ballots beginning late Wednesday night for the Georgetown University Student Association executive election. It’s important that students make their vote count, quite literally in more ways than one.
Voting for GUSA is a small but significant student duty here at Georgetown, and it is important that students take full advantage of the ranked-choice voting system. Although it might be tempting for some to only rank their top choice and perhaps give that candidate an edge in the instant runoff, such strategizing undermines a democratic process that produces a consensus-based winner.
The first ticket to receive 50 percent of first-place votes will win. If no ticket has fulfilled this condition, then the lowest-grossing ticket will be removed from consideration. Students who put the last-place ticket as their first choice will now have the ticket they ranked as second count as a first-place vote. All these new first-place votes will be attributed to the remaining candidates and the tally recalculated, again looking for a 50 percent or more of the vote total.
To take full advantage of this voting procedure, students should always provide a complete list of their preferences, ranking all of the tickets. It is not advantageous to list only one or two tickets. Not only does it spoil the process, but if a student votes for only one set of candidates and that ticket happens to be the first to be eliminated after the first round, that student’s vote is essentially discarded.
It’s important for students to participate in what is expected to be a close GUSA election Thursday, but to truly fulfill that duty one should consider what it actually means in this format to be able to say “I voted.”