Our View | A flawed election tradition

CW Editorial Board

The Crimson White Editorial Board consists of Editor in Chief Bhavana Ravala, Managing Editor Jeffrey Kelly, Engagement Editor Gabriel Brown, Opinions Editor Carson Lott and Chief Copy Editor Natalie Bonner. 

It’s a long-standing tradition for The Crimson White’s Editorial Board to endorse candidates for the Student Government Association. Tradition, however, is sometimes flawed. 

SGA elections have historically been a time of scrutiny on campus. We would be remiss to write an editorial discussing election season without mention of the infamous Machine that has frequently served as a subject of scrutiny.

The Machine, by its very nature, stands opposed to The Crimson White. The Machine is an organization inherently built on exclusivity and secrecy. The Crimson White is a newspaper that seeks to share truth and inspire accountability. 

These are the values that frequently put The Crimson White in the position of criticizing campus elections, and therefore the Machine. But our history with the Machine does not mean other campus entities are free from scrutiny.

Put simply, The Crimson White is a newspaper, not a political organization, and our history of endorsements has unfortunately allowed our readers to forget that. 

A candidate is not less deserving of scrutiny simply because they say they are not affiliated with the Machine. The title of “independent” does not miraculously permit a candidate or their supporters to resort to the Machine tactics that The Crimson White has condemned over our decades of existence — the tactics of obscuring the truth, intimidating the press and seeking special treatment on account of their political affiliation.

Any person, and any organization, is capable of these tactics. Our mission is to not only find the truth, but to prove the truth, and we pursue this mission in the face of every tactic to dissuade us from doing so. 

One aspect of this truth is that the SGA itself is perceived as inconsequential on this campus. Despite being a body that claims to be representative, it means little to the vast majority of students as demonstrated by consistently low voter turnout.

Elections draw so much attention because they are meant to be an exhibition of Machine tactics on full display. But despite the fact that the Machine’s presence is an unspokenly understood truth, the journalistically sound proof of their actions remains minimal.

The Machine’s hold on SGA has allowed the student body to forget that a government, even a student one, is meant to make a difference in its constituents’ lives. 

The Crimson White has not forgotten. Last spring, we wrote about the Elections Board’s dismissal of sororities incentivizing votes for Machine candidates. We fulfill our role by sharing the evidence we can verify, by reminding the student body year after year of how the Machine functions. But we are not the agent of change on this campus.

You are the agent of change.

You have a vote. You have observed the last week of campaigning. You are the only one who can decide for yourself which candidate genuinely has your best interest in mind. You can choose the candidates you believe will defend the integrity of these elections and of the institutions that claim to serve all students. 

The Crimson White is not here to tell you who to support. We are here to share the facts supported by the evidence that we have verified to be true. The rest is up to you. 

Students can and should vote on myBama on Feb. 28 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.