Runoffs pose problems

Candidates in Thursday’s runoff elections have only one day to get students back out to vote.

Angie Green, one of the candidates for Miss FAMU who was defeated in Tuesday’s election, said “getting people to vote the second time is tough.”

“If you have a solid platform and you are sincere, the students will come back out and vote,” Green said.

To win an election outright, a candidate must have 50 percent and one vote.

If a candidate does not capture the majority of the votes, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff for their particular race.

Catherine Jefferson, adviser to the electoral commission, said runoffs are common on campus, but sometimes individual students stand out.

“Usually there is a candidate that is so dear and loved by the students that the person wins outright,” Jefferson said.

Thomas N. Jones, a sophomore senator, said the disbursement of votes is usually based on campaign efforts and visuals.

“Many students don’t know the candidates,” Jones said.

They base their vote on the Miss FAMU pageant and whoever they see the most.”

Electoral commissioner Michael Lipford said turnout for runoff elections is traditionally lower than the general elections which is unfair for candidates.

“One person may vote for you one day and not show up to vote for you in the runoff,” Lipford said.

The runoff system is not a part of the senate elections because the top eight candidates for each class are automatically elected to the student senate.

Lipford said the electoral commission is looking for another electorate process that will implement the runoff votes in the general elections.

Lipford and the electoral commission are looking at a system called “instant runoff voting,” in which a person would rank all candidates instead of voting for just one.

In the event of a runoff, the ranking of the runoff candidates would determine runoff votes.

Deputy commissioner Mikal Lewis said he is in favor of the instant runoff system as long as there’s a means to make the system work.

“I would like to see another method, but there has to be a viable solution,” Lewis said.

Lipford said he was interested in the program but because campus elections use Leon County voting machines it would pose a problem.

“It’s worth trying out; however, Tallahassee doesn’t have the technology for it,” Lipford said.

Lewis said the electoral commission would make sure that the elections are fair for everyone in whatever system they choose.

Derrick Morgan can be reached at