SA election voter turnout drops 77 percent

DeKALB — The Student Association elections resulted in a 77.4 percent decrease in voter turnout compared to the spring 2018 elections, despite SA members’ hopes to double the number of voters.

A total of 374 students participated in elections, which is only 2.4 percent of undergraduate and graduate student enrollment. Students who did vote while polls were open from Tuesday to 5 p.m. Wednesday, were not required to vote for each position.

Election Commissioner Brandon Lesnicki said a lot contributed to the low turnout, including a lack of publicizing and current tensions.

“I’m gonna be honest, the turnout was not good,” Lesnicki said. “A lot of the wind went out of the sails of our election because of so many different factors.”

During the spring 2018 elections, 1,658 students participated in voting, which is 1,284 more students to vote in elections compared to this year’s 374 voters. The SA has shown a decline in voter turnout in previous years, but this election marks a record low.

Executive branch and Senate elections used to be divided; Senate in the fall and Executive branch in the Spring, but as of the spring 2016 elections the two have coincided, according to a May 4, 2015 Northern Star article. Increasing voter turnout was one of the factors in combining the two SA elections. 

Total voter turnout for the spring 2015 elections was 2,315, which declined to 843 voters in the 2016, and then jumped back up to 1,609 voters in the spring 2017 elections, according to a March 30, 2017 Northern Star article.

The SA maintained 1,658 voters in the spring 2018 elections, before receiving less than a quarter of the votes from the previous year.