Officials want 5K turnout for Student Association executive elections


SA Senator David White

By Ashley Morse

Student Association Senator David White said he hopes to increase turnout to 5,000 students as the newly appointed SA election board’s commissioner.

As commissioner, White is responsible for hiring poll workers, administering elections, holding a debate among the executive candidates and sanctioning individuals interfering with an election, according to the SA Bylaws.

Senators Rachel Gorsuch, Brandon Phillips, Jake Swick, Gregory Lezon, Demone Williams and James Forman, SA director of Advertising, were nominated to the board of elections Sunday at SA Senate. The board requires five members, excluding the commissioner. The Senate was to go to a vote until Williams declined his nomination.

After the board members were selected, the Senate nominated members for the position of chairman, the head of the election board. Phillips took the spot with 17 votes to Gorusch and Lezon’s seven votes each.

White and Phillips said their plan for the spring election is to increase the voter turnout to 5,000 students, which would be a near double increase from last year’s 2,600 students in spring 2014. SA executive elections have seen a growing turnout, with 2,600 students voting in spring 2014, 1,500 in 2013, 750 in 2012 and 1,189 in 2011, according to a Feb. 12 Northern Star article.

“… Whether it be online or through social media or just actual fliers … any advertisements, we just want to make it huge,” White said.

The SA is hoping to move elections online to increase turnout and accommodate more students, White said. Huskie Link,, a social networking site for student groups at NIU, is being looked at to hold the elections.

“It’s a much easier base of access, … if anyone is skipping classes or just staying in because it’s too cold they can just vote in their dorm or wherever they are,” Phillips said. “It also helps people with busy schedules and non-traditional students.”

White said he plans for the reintroduction of a special “I voted sticker” for the campaign as well as other free items. Last year, the SA distributed T-shirts to those who voted in the executive elections, which Phillips said helped increase voter turnout.