Article by: Dan Jachim
Benito Mussolini famously called democracy a beautiful fallacy. Of course, he was the founder of arguably the least democratic government in history, so his words do not bear the most weight. What should not be considered lightly, however, are the recent changes made to how people are elected to ISSBA, the Interscholastic Student Body Association, akin to a student council. In the past, the archaic First Past the Post method was used, were students would run for a position, and the one who received the most votes would achieve it. Now, however, times have changed.
In recent weeks, a referendum was held, in which students could vote on whether to keep the old system, or move to a modified vote, where candidates would run in various pools, with the most successful candidates of each pool emerging victorious. And in sharp contrast to last year’s attempt, where voter turnout was so meagre, the referendum, regardless of outcome, could not be considered valid, this attempt was more successful. While not a complete turnout, the numbers was more satisfying; and with around three quarters of students voting, the result is most definitely legitimate. The ISM community decided that they want change.
For the most part, people are happy with this. However, the most important reactions are from the ones considering running for ISSBA position for next year. Chief among them is Andrea Manalac, the incumbent Secretary. For her, the most interesting thing about this development will be the changes to the way people campaign, and she says she hopes this new system will help make it fairer, giving better candidate’s protection from those who merely seek to game the system. However, some have motivations slightly less serious. Aparna Mohan revealed that she, at the time possessing no desire to run, voted in favor of change simply because it was different. This appears to be a common sentiment, with several people who wished to remain unnamed citing the desire for something, anything, to change as being their sole motivation for voting. This could suggest a deeper discontentment with more issues, which just happened to manifest here.
Regardless of why people voted, one thing is clear; they did vote. And thus, now the consequences must be dealt with. While they are most likely going to be positive, with people not being able to run unopposed, they can spell potential disaster, with one pool being flooded with talent while one lags behind, thus completely failing to eliminate the problem of worthy candidate not being elected. Despite all this, it is decided. ISM will change. Now, it just must be hoped that it is for the better.