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Student elections are frightening

| Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Being a student at Holy Cross, there are some things that happen across the street that I am actually glad I am not involved in — the biggest thing being student elections. I have yet to hear anything positive about student elections at Notre Dame. They are notoriously competitive, and, although the winning candidates can produce some good incentives, the path they take to get to the office is often thrown into question. Student elections at Holy Cross are not as hotly contested, but there are still some issues that the candidates present to their constituents. 

As I was walking into the dining hall yesterday, a nice young man handed me a bag of cookies and kindly asked for my vote. I watch way too many crime shows to obliviously accept food from a stranger, but not wanting to be rude, I accepted the cookies. Today, as I moseyed over to my 9 a.m. class, I passed an unmanned table of cupcakes and brownies amongst other sweets with a poster of a candidate. Did I dare take the food? No! I almost felt like a pig being fattened up to be slaughtered. I think it is important to note that I did not cast a vote in the student elections. I simply had no or very little knowledge of what for or why the candidates were running. As I opened my email before typing this out, I was surprised to see that the winners of the election were not those who listed their qualifications on their campaign posters but instead those who had won votes by handing out arrays of sweets. 

Don’t get me wrong, these candidates may be just as qualified for the role as the others, but it appears to me that the student election process, like most of the elections in this country, has sadly become a popularity contest. Just by looking at the posters of the candidates, I noticed something that made me feel uneasy. The soon-to-be class senators who had won the election put minimal effort into their posters, besides all the trees they killed with their self promotion. The winners’ posters were boring and slightly cringe-inducing, with most of them simply containing memes with their names posted over them or cheesy quotes like “I will fight for you” next to a picture of them with boxing gloves on — one even listed “cookies” as a reason to vote for them. Meanwhile, the candidates who put a little more effort into their posters, listing their qualifications for the job and incentives they would like to enact once elected, lost to their sugar-bribing opponents. I can only hope that those who won are competent enough to handle their new roles. However, if their tenure as class senators is reflective of their lame posters or the scandalous routes they took to obtain votes, my hope is fleeting.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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