Election without Representation

Back in January, 1944, the Class of '46 elected their class committee. It was a strange time to hold an election because roughly three quarters of the class was away in service, and it is even stranger that the results still stand. The committeemen were neither actually nor fairly elected, so there is no reason why they should retain their posts.

Harvard has never been noted for great turnouts in undergraduate balloting and college politicos think themselves lucky if half the men involved cast votes. But the '46 committee election sets some sort of a record: less than one third of the men voted, and less than one quarter of the votes were counted. In a poll taken after the war 388 men didn't even know that there had been an election. As for the men in office, 416 '46ers had never met any of the three class marshalls.

It is easy to see how such a situation could arise. Nominations were made in January, 1944, when but three hundred and fifty of the Class of '46 were still in college. This narrowed down the possible choices. Though ballots were mailed out to absent members, and final tally came less than a month later, when but a handful of the mailed ballots had returned, and the remainder were still buried in scattered APO stations around the country. The V-12 unit in College effectively elected the '46 Committee and the unanimous V-12 membership on it seems to bear out this contention.

More than half of the Class of '46 either have never heard of the election or have protested against it. The course of action for the committee therefore is clear: resign and permit a new election to be held. The committee must take the initiative because they control what little administrative machinery there is. The difficulties incurred in a new balloting are not insurmountable. The men of '46 still remember their classmates, and some few of them vividly. The latter are the men who will win the new election, and the ones who rightfully belong on the permanent class committee.