Loser of the Week: Democracy
The results of Associated Students of Madison’s Spring 2013 Election are in, and the numbers are, well, less than impressive. Of 40,723 enrolled students at the University of Wisconsin, a mere 6,077 cast votes in the election, which comes out to just less than 15 percent. While it is true the members of ASM are elected by popular vote, this can hardly be considered representative democracy at its finest. For all of the lip service given to democracy at this university, one would think we could set a better example.
It’s hard to tell who to blame for the negligible participation in the spring elections. On one hand, it is hard to take the side of busy students and argue it wasn’t convenient enough to vote. ASM sends a campuswide email with a hyperlink to the ballot — in theory every student either read and deleted this email, or followed the link and spent five minutes or fewer casting votes. It’s more likely UW students have become hopelessly apathetic when it comes to student government.
This is where ASM could do more. It is evident that across the board, candidates did not drum up much support among the UW community. Sure, candidates made themselves present making announcements in class, blanketing campus with fliers and bombarding social media networks — but is winning less than a tenth of the student vote a true electoral victory? Maybe the candidates of this spring’s elections just weren’t running the campaigns the UW community as a whole could get excited about.
That’s why democracy is the loser of this week. An immediate corollary is that political apathy is a winner of the week.