SGA to Move to Slate Election System

Shortly before quarantine began, it was announced that the Student Government Association elections would move to a slate system for the foreseeable future. The decision was made following a student survey sent out in late February, in which the SGA asked all students for input on the SGA election. The slate format is a departure from the previously established individual system in which students would vote for each officer position (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary) separately. With the change, students will now be voting for a ticket of four students who will be elected together. While the slate system won the student referendum, there has been debate from both sides.

Supporters of the new system point to its potential for increased student participation in government by helping to combat the issue of unopposed positions in previous SGA elections. The slate system could also increase the efficiency and productivity of the SGA, as the elected group of students will share a common agenda, and will already have chosen to work together. Junior Dylan Jude Bautista supports the slate system for this reason, commenting, “I think the slate system will allow the SGA to get more done. Having a group of people who already know and like one another helps to streamline the process of decision making and planning.” Additionally, the slate system more closely mimics real university and governmental elections in which voters select a ticket, rather than individual candidates. 

However, those who oppose the slate system argue that although it may increase student representation, it ultimately incentivizes quantity over quality as anyone interested in running for a position is required to find three other students to run with. Many also claim that the new system makes the election more of a popularity contest, in which some tickets will choose their members for the sole purpose of reaching a larger body of voters, rather than creating a group of the most qualified and capable individuals. According to current junior class president Michael Mora, “The individual election system allows the students who most desire to make a difference in the Morris Hills community to run without being reliant on a ticket of 3 other individuals. Under the slate system, students who are not truly passionate about student government are encouraged to run merely to fill a slate.” For those who prefer to run individually, the class officer elections will continue to be run on the individual system. 

While the student government elections would usually take place in the spring, because of the current COVID-19 crisis, SGA elections and class officer elections are expected to take place in September, according to SGA advisor Mrs.Radzieski. Specific dates and details about how prospective candidates will apply and campaign are still being determined. The current SGA has made it clear that the move to the slate format is not necessarily permanent, and next year will serve as a sort of “test run” for the new system. It is possible that the SGA elections could switch back to the individual format in the future, should enough students demand it. Still, the SGA election will move forward with the slate system for the 2020-21 school year.