April 20, 2011

The Making of a Shadow President

In recent posts, this space endorsed Will Hix '12 in his race for Student Assembly president. In addition to his bona fides as a campus leader and considerable gravitas, we believed that Mr. Hix's candidacy constituted a valuable cause for the student body. An egregious decision by the S.A. election board ruled that any student who had run afoul of Parkhurst was barred from holding office. Mr. Hix, who was once arrested for consuming alcohol underage, was thus ruled ineligible.

Mr. Hix launched a write-in campaign and performed quite well, securing 37 percent of total votes cast, compared with 39 percent for Max Yoeli and 24 percent for Aaron Limonthas. Given his contentious battle with the election board, this is an impressive feat.

In a sense, however, we at LGB understood our endorsement to be in vain. Even had Mr. Hix won in vote totals, he would not have been permitted to take office. So why endorse Mr. Hix at all?

A Likely Counterfactual

First, it is likely that Mr. Hix would have won this race had the election board not barred him from the ballot. The margin separating him from the winner, Mr. Yoeli, was quite thin (48 votes). As a general rule, write-in campaigns are particularly difficult since, among other things, casting a write-in ballot is more arduous than simply selecting a name already displayed. Write-in ballots are also more likely to be incorrectly apportioned due to spelling mistakes or voter misunderstanding.

April 16, 2011

Hix '12, Dartmouth Student Body, both shafted in student election

Election outcomes:

Student Body President:
Max Yoeli '12 -- 691 votes (16.5% of the undergrad student body)
Will Hix '12 -- 643 votes (15.3%, disqualified by EPAC/ ran as a write-in candidate)
Aaron Limonthas '12 -- 427 votes (10.2%, write-in candidate)

Student Body Vice President:
Amrita Sankar '12 -- 906 votes (21.6%)
Brian Holekamp '12 -- 510 votes (12.2%)


* If Hix were on the ballot, he would have won this election. Not since the if-you-don't-vote-for-me-you-support-rape campaign of Tim Andreadis '07 have I seen such an effective write-in campaign, and never with as much adversity. The Elections Planning Advisory Committee's (EPAC) decision to bar Hix had no basis in history or reason and singularly denied Dartmouth what might have been a galvanizing and effective Student Body Presidency. Hix's 48-vote margin of defeat must be especially difficult for him given that he lost the Vice Presidency last year by a mere 7 votes.

* 4 out of 5 dentists recommend crest, but less than one of them voted for Yoeli. One benefit of approval voting is that it enables voters to 'approve' of candidates independently ('yes' to Obama, 'yes' to Hillary, 'no' to Palin) instead of selecting one over another. The candidate with the highest approval rating wins. This usually means that multiple individuals will achieve more than 50% approval, but in this election only 16.5% of the student body 'approved' the victor. How is Yoeli suppose to talk to the Board of Trustees without the mandate of the students? Oh, that's right, he got a higher vote share in his contested election than they did in their uncontested one! (zing!)

April 15, 2011

Will Hix for SA President

Today, Dartmouth students will vote for new representation on the Student Assembly. We at Little Green Blog urge students to write-in Will Hix for SA President.

The staff at LGB has endorsed Mr. Hix previously, and we stand by our reasoning. Mr. Hix, more than any other candidate in the race, has advanced substantive, pragmatic steps to focus the Student Assembly on those tasks to which it is best designed.

Further, Mr. Hix has become the symbol of protest to a recent decision by S.A.'s election committee to bar the candidacy of any student who has previously run afoul of Parkhurst. Mr. Hix was once cited for disorderly conduct and possession of alcohol by a minor -- a crime of which many Dartmouth students have been convicted -- and was thus ruled ineligible to run for SA President. This standard is both ridiculous and insulting, as it insinuates that Dartmouth students need an electoral committee to weigh ethics and rationality in their stead.

The role of S.A. president can be a powerful platform. And at a time when Parkhurst seems intent on degrading the value of a Dartmouth education, while charging students ever-higher prices for it, the students need a powerful spokesman.

Mr. Hix would be that president. Voting is ongoing and ends tonight at 8:00 PM EST.