In yet another ridiculous move on the part of the UBC Alma Mater Society, the country’s largest student union is proposing a $5 fine imposed on all students at the beginning of the year, to be refunded only if you vote in their elections. While I tend to agree with Nietzsche that those who don’t want to participate in democracy shouldn’t be forced to, since their lack of interest will actually harm the democratic process, the AMS seems to be suggesting that the electorate will be suddenly motivated to rigorously research and weigh all the candidates, making the decision they think is best for their school and enhancing the oh-so-important-and-relevant democratic process of student union elections. Ha ha ha.
In fact, the AMS would really just be herding uninterested cows into the ring to mindlessly moo in order to avoid a fee. The random button clicking that would surely ensue (voting for AMS elections is done online) would ultimately reduce the representativeness of the union, replace quality with quantity, and degrade the democratic process in favor of louder mooing.
Let’s hope those who actually vote voluntarily on this referendum, which is being proposed alongside the AMS general election this week, do so with more thought than would be on display next year should this proposal pass.