Q: Do godparents need to be/should be present for the rite of election in the cathedral?
A: Yes. The rite requires their presence. They need to give testimony that the catechumens are ready for baptism. That testimony informs the bishop’s pronouncement that they are elect.
It is not so important for the sponsors of the candidates for the call to continuing conversion. They have a role in that rite, but the entire call to continuing conversion is not as important as the rite of election.