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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor: How democracy works

Published: March 17, 2006
Section: Opinions

To the Editor:
Kevin Montgomery's article “The Official Opinion of the Student Union is Meaningless” demonstrates he does not understand how democracy works. His assertion that an insignificant 7.3% of the student body voted in favor is irrelevant. Montgomery proposes 25% as a threshold to gain official status as the student body's opinion. But, besides being a nice round number, 25% is just as arbitrary as any number less than 51%. The democratic process dictates that only actual voters, not potential voters, are counted towards an outcome. And given the relatively apathetic nature of people, requiring a majority of potential voters to vote in favor would virtually prohibit anything from passing. For instance, the 2004 U.S. Presidential election saw about 40% of potential voters actually vote. Given that many Brandeis students are aware of the majority rules nature of our political system, it is their obligation to encourage fellow students to vote against petitions they do not believe have merit rather than criticize the democratic process after it fails to further their personal opinions.
Donnie Phillips '06