With the Student Union Society (SUS) election coming up fast, one question is sure to be on a lot of students’ minds: how do I vote?
I had the same question last semester, when, as a new student, I wanted to dip my toes into the water of student government and vote in the fall by-election. Admittedly, the stakes weren’t that high with only one candidate running, but I figured it’d be good practice for the day when there was a contested election to vote in. That is to say, a few weeks from now. I wanted to be a good, proactive, engaged student, and figured it’d be good practice to cast a more or less meaningless vote.
When election day came around, it was all over Facebook, the posters were posted, and of course we’d been talking about it at The Cascade in the preceding weeks, but the topic of how to vote never came up. There seemed to be an assumption that everybody knew what was involved, and I’m sure to the people designing and approving those posters, it seems straightforward enough. But when all they say is to vote online through MyUFV, they neglect to address one issue: MyUFV is a labyrinthian abyss crossed with amnesia-inducing capabilities beyond even that of a videogame plot, lightly glazed with the sirens’ song of ever-so-faint hope that one day, just maybe, an end will be found. That is to say, the tantalizing trails of links weave through the impossible web of green and white, but every path leads to the same ultimate, tragic conclusion: erasing the user’s memory of how to get to a page almost as soon as they leave it.
I tried. I tried to vote. I wasn’t on campus that day, so I couldn’t just casually ask someone, and I wasn’t about to text a coworker to ask for instructions. I’d like to think I’m a smart, highly computer literate person, and I can usually at least guess at what a designer intended. But that day? That day I met a problem I couldn’t solve. I logged in and clicked on everything. Campus Life? Has a link to SUS, but no election. Campus News or Services? Nope. MyCampusLife? The home page? Some random place that didn’t make sense? Nothing.
I don’t know what’s involved behind the scenes, and I don’t know if there’s some bylaw that says this is the place elections have to be held, but I can’t help but think there must be a better way. At the very least, it should be made explicitly clear, with instructions on every announcement and poster, how to vote. Because I wanted to. I tried to be an engaged student in my first semester. And what did I get out of it? Half an hour of annoyance and the sense that someone felt my vote wasn’t needed. All I’m saying is, maybe the lack of competition in that by-election wasn’t the only reason I could count the total votes on my fingers.