SA election turnout fall continues

By Alexander Chettiath and Maggie Koll

More than 600 students voted in the first online Student Association Senate elections, said Election Commissioner Kevin Gordon, a decrease from last year’s 720 student turnout.

Student turnout for SA Senate elections have been on a decline for the past five years, except for one increase. The number of voting students was 720 students in the 2014 SA Senate fall election, 750 in 2013, 675 in 2012 and 937 in 2011, according to a Sept. 25, 2014 Northern Star article. An official turnout number will be released today, Gordon said.

“I feel like this year, due to the district setup — the way it was broken down with none of the districts having more than ten people except for District Three — I think that really affected the anticipation and the true drive to make sure people got out to the polls and things like that,” Gordon said.

Of the 31 candidates on the ballot, 29 were elected to fill Senate seats. The two candidates who did not make the Senate, Usman Beg and senator Leon Kincaid, were in the running as District Three representatives. District Three was the only district to have more than 10 candidates, which is the maximum amount of senators that may be elected to each district.

“The most competitive district, as you can see, had the most votes,” Gordon said. “Everyone in District Three, besides the two gentlemen who did not get elected, had more votes than other people. I think the true competition was in District Three and that really affected the turnout. As far as the distribution of votes, I feel if we had more people running, there would have been a greater turnout. In other districts, if you had one vote, you were in.”

Huskie Link, which was first used for the online 2015 SA executive elections, had no issues and everyone who wanted to vote was able to, Gordon said.

“I like the online setup,” Gordon said. “I think we should advertise more, not just on Huskie Link, but, and also we should send out mass emails to student accounts. I think that will be good to spread the word.”

Amanda Woycheese, junior special education major, said she didn’t vote because she doesn’t hear or see the SA Senate elections promoted.

“I don’t want to vote for what I don’t know,” Woycheese said. “You see them walking around, but no one has talked to me. There’s just not information. More things should be posted online.”

Freshman nursing major Dominique Traveseras said she saw a poll station in the New Hall Community Center ­­— one of five polling places.

“I saw some people voting on computers,” Traveseras said. “I don’t know much about it. To know what was going on, that would be nice.”

As for the future, Gordon said getting more interest in elections should be the SA’s focus in order to improve election turnout.

“I think that we should be a lot more hands on as far as the promotion,” Gordon said. “Every director should have a handbill required for them to hand out. So when a student asks, they can give them a handbill instead of just a poster.”

The Senate will hold its first meeting 5 p.m. Sunday in the Holmes Student Center, Sky Room.