Our view: Make democracy work for you

The candidate who receives the most votes wins.

That’s democracy. That’s how it is supposed to work, and, for the most part, it does.

What happens when a candidate is unopposed? Just one vote and the candidate wins. It’s happened before. It happened in Kent’s last city council election.

It’s about to happen again. There are eight candidates for the new Undergraduate Student Government running unopposed. That means there are five director candidates and three senator candidates without any opposition. One of those positions is executive director.

That may not sound like a big deal at first. After all, if no one else chose to run, it’s not the candidate’s fault. He or she went around to get the petition signed and turned in all the necessary paperwork.

This is a problem that affects every election that has an unopposed candidate. We focus on the USG election because this directly affects the student body (in other words, you). Just because the person happens to be the only candidate for the position doesn’t mean he or she is right for that spot.

This isn’t easy. The current Undergraduate Student Senate isn’t at fault. They’ve been trying to make this transition work since it passed last spring. Still, it worries us that so few are interested in filling these positions.

We don’t know each of you individually, only as a whole. We know you are all busy; you have your own problems to deal with. It’s hard for any student organization to attract new members and leaders. USS was no exception. USG isn’t either.

So, keeping low student turnout in mind, why would the previous USS increase the size of student government? Why would they rely solely on students voting when turnout is usually low? Why would they leave this to our current senators to figure out?

There’s nothing we can do to change this, short of voting to go back to the previous government.

The concept itself isn’t bad. Wanting to increase student representation to college administration is a great idea. Students would have a better chance of getting their voices heard if they had someone who had direct contact with the deans and school directors.

These are important positions. They carry a great deal of responsibility. There’s a lot of red tape to cut through and guidelines to follow. It won’t be easy. If someone doesn’t do the job well, it could mean terrible consequences for students.

The best solution to this problem is to make sure you aren’t misrepresented. After the election, keep in contact with your senator and the directors. The colleges are pretty big; they’ll have a lot of students to help. Don’t let yourself get lost in the crowd. Tell them about problems you have that they can help fix or at least point you in the right direction. Let them know if you don’t like what they are doing. Let them know if you do like what they’re doing so they know to continue it.

The point of this is to make sure you participate in the government. If they don’t know what you need, they can’t help you.

The point of a government is to serve the people. You vote them in. Make them work for you.

The above editorial is a consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.