Revelle votes for change

    Revelle College students overwhelmingly passed proposed constitutional amendments and a major revamping of the selection process for Revelle College Council representatives in a special election delayed by the local fires and a late start.

    More than 84 percent of voters chose to change the council’s current “”member-at-large”” elections to one based on “”plurality,”” with 363 voting in favor and 69 against. This means that instead of electing a group of candidates to the council, who would then hold internal elections to fill specific positions like chair and financial controller, future elections will allow students to vote contenders directly into specific offices.

    “”I’m excited that [the amendments and election reform] passed,”” said Revelle senior Melissa Tsang, the chair of Revelle College Council. “”With the new slate system being introduced at the college-based elections, I think students will really have a say of who is elected for each position.””

    Before the vote, Revelle remained the only college that did not allow voters to decide what position the majority of candidates filled.

    Last year, internal elections resulted in a tie for the top position of chair, with the outgoing chair making the deciding vote.

    “”There was sort of this feeling that we did the best we could with the situation, but we wanted to make sure it wouldn’t happen again,”” said Revelle sophomore Sara Jamshidi, who serves as the commuter representative on the council and had the task of managing the special election.

    Revelle students also approved several constitutional amendments by a 293-50 vote.

    Recommended by a subcommittee formed to explore updates to the constitutions, the changes dealt with a variety of procedural issues, including changing the order of agenda items at council meetings, adding the previous year’s chair to the council as a nonvoting member, and removing restrictions for meeting times of the Revelle Organizations Committee.

    “”All of the changes are to really give [students] more of the voice,”” Jamshidi said. “”The changes to the agenda are to help the students who come to our meetings.””

    Students could only vote on the amendments collectively, passing all or none.

    “”If they had been separated, I would have voted for most of them,”” said Revelle junior Emmanuel Betancourt, who voted against all the proposed adjustments because he opposed one of them.

    Originally scheduled to end on Oct. 31, RCC officials extended the voting period through Nov. 4, because the Web hyperlink needed to vote appeared one day late and wildfires temporarily shut down the entire campus.

    Though the system logged more than 50 completed ballots within the first hour, less then 12 percent of Revelle’s 3,697 students voted in the special election.

    The low turnout came despite an incentive drive, which promised candy to all those who participated.

    By early Oct. 3, the day before the end of the election period, less than 30 voters claimed their sweets, Jamshidi said.

    Revelle students admitted that they had trouble understanding the technical amendments.

    “”I know there is an election, but I don’t know what it’s about,”” Revelle freshman Gabriela Avila said. “”I’m new here so I don’t have very much information to make decisions.””

    Both parts of the ballot items needed only a simple majority to pass.

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