Monday, February 21, 2005

Who needs clean elections anyway?

Ever wonder how so many Alabama lawmakers could be so brazen in believing that they won't be held accountable for even the most atrocious conduct? It's simple: They learn in college.

The University of Alabama's Student Elections Board is doing the state's future no favors whatsoever with its shrug-the-shoulders attitude toward rules violations in the school's upcoming Student Government Association election. The board's chairwoman, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, said that not only will the board not release the names of candidates who violate the rules, it won't even tell the public that a rule has been violated.

The chairwoman also asserted that board members "are not going to go out there looking for things" and will only pursue complaints lodged within two business days of the violation. A "leave us alone" attitude isn't what's needed from people in charge of SGA elections at a university whose recent voting history has been marred by fraud and threats of violence and intimidation.

The election watchdogs at the state's flagship university should not roll over in the face of dirty tricks. If politicians get away with rule-breaking in college, they'll do their best to get away with it when they run for offices that actually mean something.


Blogger Thus Spake The Madman said...

Welcome my son... welcome... to the MACHINE.

4:20 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Oh, you mean that thing that doesn't exist? Yes, it denies all responsibility for election misconduct. Or would. If it existed. Which it doesn't. It's probably all the media's fault anyway.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

4:40 PM  
Blogger John Hubbard said...

I'm sure there were rules broken, but I don't think it really decided the election. While I was at the Capstone, the vast majority of non-greeks seemed apathetic towards SGA.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

You're right that UA's independent students historically haven't been all that interested in the SGA elections, but I think the culture of turning a blind eye to the school's annual election-related shenanigans plays a big part in that pattern. I suspect turnout would increase if students saw that administrators were willing to stick their necks out by enforcing the election rules vigorously and ensuring everyone gets a fair chance.

In the end, I usually don't mind who wins a given election at any level as long as the campaign and voting process are free of illegality and intimidation. Unfortunately for UA, its student elections haven't been like that in a long time.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Mac said...

My brother says that there's no such thing as the Machine, and he should know, he's a member... When I was at UA, not-yet-Governor Riley's daughter Minda was allegedly beaten up -- literally -- by Machine thugs. The administration got so fed up they shut down the student government for three years.

3:42 PM  
Blogger mira said...

This is the kind of crap that makes me glad I didn't go to UA. Any wonder that there's the attitude of "So, you went to UA? What, you're proud of that fact? I wouldn't be."

No university is perfect, they all have their little scandals of varying degrees. For a university that educates a significant portion of a state's future leadership to ignore major election violations is unacceptable. Until individuals are held accountable for their actions in Alabama's universities, how can we expect our lawmakers to behave any better than they do now? After all, we let them be taught they could get away with it.

10:59 PM  

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