Editorial: ASEWU electoral dysfunction


According to the ASEWU, student that vote in the general elections on May 7th will have a better chance at seeing Macklemore.

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Do you care about ASEWU elections?

Historically, a very small percentage of the student body has cared. In 2010 and 2011, only about 7 percent of EWU students cast a ballot. Last year, the turnout shot up to a whopping 14 percent. And why should students care, really? How much influence does the student government have over their time at Eastern?

But what if you could get priority admission to a Macklemore concert? Then you would care, right? You would vote if it meant you could go to the performance by that recording artist who is so popular with the young people these days, right?

This is basically the thought process behind ASEWU bringing Macklemore to play a show at Reese Court.

But don’t worry guys, it’s totally not bribery. How is it not bribery? Oh, yeah, because ASEWU says it’s not bribery. It’s a “thank you.” It’s just a “thank you” that happens to bear a striking resemblance to a bribe.

“Maybe we did incentivize the voting. But we feel that’s better than not voting at all,” Travis Hughes, former elections director and mastermind of the Macklemore plot, was quoted as saying in an article in The Easterner this week.

Cool story. It’s “better than not voting at all.” Of course, nothing could be worse than not voting, as was demonstrated to us by P.Diddy’s “Vote or Die” campaign. Nothing could be worse than the overwhelming majority of EWU students collectively deciding that student elections are a colossal waste of time. The 86 percent need to be shown that student elections are important.

And the way to show them how important they are is to promise them something cool if they vote.

ASEWU appears to have gotten their wish. More people voted in the primary than in previous years, and ASEWU is pretty pleased with themselves over the relatively high turnout. With the Macklemore concert dangled in front of them, it is likely that the general election will also see an increase in voter turnout. Do you really think people voting for a reward will put a lot of thought or research into who they are voting for? Bringing in droves of uninformed voters who are only doing it to get into a concert is not exactly following the spirit of democracy.

Another problem is that it is just plain unethical. Since ASEWU does not seem to have a clear grasp of this concept, a good guideline for them could be to ask themselves if something would be considered acceptable in our state or federal elections process. If the answer is “No, it is not only not acceptable in a state or federal election, it is illegal,” maybe ASEWU should not do it.

There is no problem with bringing Macklemore to Cheney with student fees, if that is what the students want. But there is a problem with ASEWU using it as a vehicle of self-aggrandizement and a means of getting students to take part in something that they otherwise would not.

Of course, implicit bribery is commonplace in state and federal elections. Individuals vote for candidates who promise them things, corporations lobby for candidates who will work to get them tax deductions or other preferential treatment. Perhaps ASEWU should be commended for conducting their bribery out in the open.