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Monday, May 20, 2019

Columns

Hot Take Friday: We need a better way to announce election results


I am not opposed to the president receiving some sort of ceremonial crown. Maybe we can bring back divine rule as well, for a more regal feel to it all. | Fiona Legesse/The Cougar

Last Thursday, the winners of the 2019 Student Government Association election were announced. Allison Lawrence (see balloon picture) and Maysarah Kazia of Students Unite won SGA president and vice president, respectively. Now, we could give you a complete rundown of what this win means for the SGA and the student body at large, but we’re all tired of serious SGA coverage.

In this column, I need to discuss a bigger issue.

Every year, the UH SGA Election Commission sets up a podium on the first floor of the Student Center North and announces the election. There’s a little speech, then the winners are announced. There’s applause. There’s crying. And it’s all so boring.

We as a university can do better in how we announce the winners. I will lay out some of my ideas in this column.

“The Bachelor” style

I have never seen “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” and honestly I never intend to watch the show. But I am aware of some kind of ceremony where roses are handed out and very sad men and women wait on edge for some person they’ve known for a few days to deem them worthy of more sex.

But, it’s effective. From my YouTube research, it seems there is a lot of drama in that room. That’s what we need when we announce SGA election results.

So my idea: every candidate gathers in a dark room as the election commissioner stands at the front with a handful of roses. Then, to announce the winners, the election commissioner hands each winner a rose, starting with the candidate who received the most votes and working down.

Also, we’ll be livestreaming this. This creates a lot of tension — a lot of quick camera cuts — and we get a sense of schadenfreude. The people who have harassed us for days get a bit of comeuppance.

“Hell’s Kitchen” style

I really love “Hell’s Kitchen,” mostly because I love to watch Gordon Ramsay yell at people who can’t cook. There are two ways eliminations on “Hell’s Kitchen” happen. The way the real winner is announced doesn’t really work unless there are only two candidates, so I’ll stick with normal eliminations.

During normal eliminations, Kitchen Simon Cowell asks each chosen competitor why they should remain on the show. Does this make much sense for our situation since votes have already been tabulated? Not really, but again, I’d like to see candidates hastily explain why they should be a part of SGA. Because schadenfreude.

For this, when picking the new election commissioner, SGA will need to pick a commissioner who can come up with spot-on insults on the fly. My suggestion would be to pick one senator at random who the election commissioner candidate can roast.

This will also be livestreamed. The election commissioner asks each candidate why they should be in SGA. Again, this does not really matter, but it’s fun. Then, the commissioner insults each of them relentlessly, hopefully to the point of tears, and goes on to announce the winners. There can also be some sort of insult-based drinking game to go with this.

“Ellen’s Game of Games” style

Again, this is a show I know exists, and while I’ve seen clips, I have never actually seen it in full. But at some point there is a drop from a high place. As students, I think we can agree this is the most fun option. It will also cost the most, but we have a billion dollars to blow.

From YouTube research, I have concluded that this is the option I want the most. I very much want to see candidates beg not to be dropped into — and this is just a suggestion — some sort of less fun ball pit. There can also be trivia involved, I am not opposed to this, either.

The election commissioner will only announce the losers because the winners will obviously be standing at the end. All the election commissioner has to do, unlike the “Hell’s Kitchen” scenario, is press a fake button.

Next year, I implore the SGA (looking at you, Allison) to add some sort of “Election Announcement” caveat to a portion of the budget. Students will be much more willing to vote if they can watch the announcement of the winners in a fun fashion.

Also, the debates should be a boxing match.

Opinion Editor Jorden Smith is a political science and creative writing senior and can be reached at [email protected]

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