We vote YesOn2, too!

Editorial Board

Last week, the student body voted two new co-presidents into office in an election that The Vanguard believes was poorly run. While we of course recognize the validity of the results and have no reason or desire to contest them, as proper citizens of Massachusetts, we believe there is a desperate need for voting reform. The student body was electing two co-presidents, so why were we only allowed to vote for one?

The school co-presidents are equal in their power, with no difference or hierarchy between roles, so it is reasonable that students should have a say in filling both positions. With our current system of voting, everyone is ultimately represented
by at least one official they did not choose. Some fraction of the student body cast votes for one candidate, others did for a different candidate, and those with the most votes were elected. But what if a majority of the school would have all agreed on a second choice, and that person still did not get elected? We don’t know anything about how the vote split; it is entirely possible that one candidate could get 70% of the votes and the next candidate 10%, even if 75% of voters would have agreed on a different candidate as their second choice. Furthermore, even the idea of electing co-presidents in terms of first and second choice is unfair. These positions are the same! The student body should respect and admire both people equally, not view one as lesser than the other.

In fact, this topic, and even this discussion, is extremely relevant and timely, as a question on the Massachusetts ballot this election year directly pertains to it. Question 2 asks whether Massachusetts should implement ranked-choice voting, in which voters choose candidates in order of preference, with a first choice, second choice, and so on for each position. According to the organization YesOn2, “Ballots are counted in rounds, where the last-place candidates lose until one candidate reaches a majority and wins.”

While we are unsure how this system will play out at the state or federal level, we advocate introducing ranked voting to the school’s internal elections. Such a system would ensure that students are represented by candidates with the greatest majority of support, and that support may, in turn, transfer to other events, too. Right now, when each voter can only throw support behind the ideas of one candidate, ideas suggested by the others could go utterly overlooked when in fact large portions of the school might be interested.

A ranked-choice voting system for student government could perhaps catalyze a new era of Color War excitement or usher in the best future Homecomings, virtual or otherwise. The most popular interests of the student body could be represented, and hopefully, come to fruition.