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A spirit that is not afraid

Referendum on ballot to implement instant runoff system for future SGA elections

<p>Senators listen&nbsp;at SGA Senate in Auburn, Ala. on Monday, April 23, 2018.</p>

Senators listen at SGA Senate in Auburn, Ala. on Monday, April 23, 2018.

The Student Government Association is having students choose whether to eliminate runoff elections with a referendum on the ballot of Tuesday's SGA elections. 

If passed, Amendment Two on the ballot would have instant-runoff voting begin by creating a different balloting system when students vote for SGA president, vice president and treasurer.

The new system would have students rank the candidates in order of preference rather than just choosing one on the ballot. 

Schyler Burney, SGA vice president, said this amendment is to help all students' voices be heard in SGA elections and not require a separate election to take place if a runoff is needed.

Max Zinner, graduate school senator and chair of code of laws committee, initiated the referendum to the SGA Senate after doing research with other universities' student governments with a successful use of the ranking system.

"Texas A&M, University of Iowa, Stanford, Duke, and the University of Virginia are among some of the institutions that use a similar voting system," Burney said.

If a runoff is required, this would allow the elections committee to tally up the votes by using this ranking system, adding the ballots in which they were voted second for those whose first choice came in last. This will continue until one candidate receives a majority of the vote.

"We kind of realized there was a need to reassess the way voting is done just after seen multiple runoff elections done in the past few years," Burney said.

This amendment will require 50 percent of the vote to go to the winner and hold more student voices in the runoff, as traditional runoffs do not receive as much of a voter turnout as the original election. It ensures those who voted for the last place candidate to still have their voice heard in SGA elections.

Mikayla Burns | Managing Editor

Mikayla Burns, senior in journalism and Spanish, is managing editor of The Auburn Plainsman.

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