March 3, 2005 - California Aggie
[Note: The Davis Governance Task Force meeting is actually next Monday, March 7. --DCR]
Davis should adopt Choice Voting
City council elections
On Tuesday, the Davis Governance Task Force, created by the City Council to review issues such as voting systems and election reform, will begin drafting an official recommendation to the council whether or not to adopt Choice Voting in city elections.
The students of UC Davis have taken it upon themselves to implement the Choice Voting system for their senate elections, and the system has consistently proved itself to be more representative of the electorate than block voting.
In the most recent ASUCD Senate election, three separate slates and two independent candidates split the eight available seats evenly. Elections data have shown that Choice Voting not only works, but closely reflects the proportions of votes cast.
The system has made sizeable difference in ASUCD politics. No longer do slates dominate student government; independent candidates now have a fair shot at winning seats.
Choice voting also encourages better voting and campaign behavior. Rather than casting their votes for a group of undistinguished candidates, students must rank candidates with a preference, forcing slate members to compare themselves with their peers.
In the most recent city election, UCD graduate student Lamar Heystek garnered 4,148 votes, but not enough to win a seat. Had Choice Voting been in place, it's possible that Heystek's supporters may have been able to place their candidate into office.
Choice Voting would not guarantee a student on city council without popular support; however, the system's better representation would ensure minority groups, such as student voters, a proportional voice in their local government.
In order to better represent its electorate, the city of Davis should adopt Choice Voting and set an example for progressive cities across America.