Until Sunday evening, Josh Singer was set to become the next president of the Student Association. But GW student elections have done it again – members of the Joint Elections Committee say they cannot certify the election results until it verifies one overseas proxy ballot. This ballot, JEC chairman Scott Scheffler said, could “most likely” affect the outcome of the election. This bears an uncanny resemblance to the Florida ballot fiasco of the 2000 U.S. presidential election and last year’s certification delay when SA President Roger Kapoor finally won the election outright.
With so much uncertainty surrounding this year’s election, one thing remains clear: an election with less than 10 votes separating the winner from the runner-up and one vote deciding whether the election heads to a run-off vindicates the adage that every vote counts. If you support Phil Robinson or Josh Singer and did not vote, congratulations – you blew a chance to solidy their standing.
Although this mirrors the trend of historical Student Association election complications, this year’s scenario is slightly less troubling. This delay is not the result of last-ditch politicking, but a proactive response of the JEC to defend the integrity of the election.
While it must be frustrating for candidates and students to wait for the certified results of the election, the price is too steep for the JEC to act with haste. With one vote keeping Robinson from a run-off election, the JEC must be able to say with certainty that the election was run completely fair and all votes were completely legitimate.
No matter who wins the election the challenges the next president faces are the same. SA presidents, although crucial to the nuts and bolts process of writing legislation, cannot be effective in the absence of visibility on campus or wide student support. Because whoever wins the presidency will lack a mandate from students, next year’s leader must work to be receptive to students and remain open to outside opinions.