Bill would add SA Senate elections


By Betsy Mathew

Student Association Senate will be voting on a bill to amend the Senate election process at its April 27 meeting.

Senator Alonte Holliday presented the bill, which proposed having two elections take place during the year instead of one, with one in the fall and one in the spring. The fall would see 20 senators from five districts elected and 20 more senators would be elected in the spring.

Holliday said the idea was first brought up to him by Senate Speaker Dillon Domke and Holliday agreed that adding a spring election would be beneficial in increasing voter turnout in the next academic year. According to Holliday’s research, SA senate elections have an average of about 6 percent voter turnout.

“All the schools that had the big numbers, the 20 percents, the 30 percents … they all had spring elections,” Holliday said.

Domke said the addition of senators during the spring election will mean there will be more people working toward the elections in the fall to promote and raise awareness of spring elections.

Holliday said spring elections would allow freshmen and transfers to be more involved during the fall election, since the candidates will already have a Senate to market the elections. Domke and Holliday expect the amendment in the election process will increase competition between candidates because of the limited spots available during the spring elections.

“One thing that we really wanted to do is to increase the competition,” Holliday said. “Increased competition will make better candidates.”

Domke said although there will be two elections, it will not necessarily lessen the chances of senators being appointed at Senate meetings.

“The only way it would is if the Senate is filled after the elections, which is what we would like to see every year with every district being competitive,” Domke said.

Senate Deputy Speaker Ben Donovan said he is not necessarily opposed to the bill, but will be cautious and ready to ask a lot of questions.

“I just want to make sure all the bases are covered … to make sure every possible aspect we can account for can be accounted for so that we have the best assessment for this bill,” Donovan said.

Domke said he would like to see this bill pass because he feels there is no excuse for there to be low voter turnout, considering the amount of people on campus every day.

“I ask people a lot of times, ‘Well, why not? What’s it going to hurt’?” Domke said. “Nothing, we can only go up from here.”

Holliday said he has been very involved in making sure the bill passes and has put a lot of work and effort into his research and the Senate has a definite impact on the student body.

“[SA] Senate is really important. A lot of people don’t realize how important it is,“ Holliday said. “To only have a 6 percent voter turnout is ridiculous for an organization that goes over a lot of money at NIU.”