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The Daily Tar Heel

Don’t run off with system: Run-off system should not be eliminated

Occasionally, there are changes we can’t believe in. And it seems some members of Student Congress have found one.

Congress is trying to eliminate the runoff system in student body elections. Currently, one candidate has to get a majority vote from the student body or there’s a battle between the two candidates with the most votes.

The rules and judiciary committee wants to change that.

They’re proposing an instant runoff vote. Students would rank candidates on their ballots instead of just choosing one. If no one gets a majority, the proposed system would kick in. If a student’s top choice is in last place, his vote would go to his second choice.

It’s definitely a more efficient system. But sometimes the most efficient option isn’t the best.

Dakota Williams, speaker of Student Congress, said runoffs often end up being a personal battle between two candidates. He said that he thinks the proposed system would encourage students to evaluate candidates based on the issues.

But personality-driven campaigns show a problem with the candidates, not a problem with the runoff system.

Runoff elections are a necessary part of our student body election culture and tradition. In the past two student body president elections, we’ve had at least five candidates to choose from in the first round of elections. The runoff provides students with time to closely examine two candidates.

That extra time has led to significant changes in the past. Last year, Thomas Edwards was the front-runner during the general election, but Student Body President Jasmin Jones was able to corral the supporters of the eliminated candidates and win.

Plus, given the technical problems during the February elections and the Board of Elections’ systemic problems, we’re not willing to yield either the board or a computer more power in determining the winner of an election.

The bill with the changes will be presented to the full Congress on March 23. Congress members should vote it down.If they don’t, Jones has said she’s going to veto the bill. We support her decision 100 percent.

The runoff election is simply too integral to the way we do elections.

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