High Voter Turnout Key For Elections
March 26, 2010 Leave a comment
During last year’s student government elections, voters turned out in high numbers. Out of an eligible 862 voters, 439 cast their ballots, a 50.9 percent turnout. These elections determine those students that will serve as liaisons between the student body and the administration. As such, all Transylvania students should strive to push the voter turnout percentage even higher by participating in the elections next Monday and Tuesday, March 29-30.
Voting will do more than just afford you the opportunity to voice your opinion about the future direction of the Student Government Association. Since these representatives will play an integral role in the improvement of the university as a whole, voting will also demonstrate that you care about taking an active part in that process.
SGA has done a fantastic job of implementing new techniques to increase voter turnout this year, and we as a student body should take advantage of these labors. The implementation of absentee ballots for study abroad and commuter students shows that SGA has made a conscious effort to include the entirety of the student body in the election process, even those who live off campus. We applaud this effort. Additionally, SGA has effectively advertised the elections and this new absentee system.
While SGA has made tremendous and successful efforts this year for the elections, problems arose during last year’s elections that should be avoided at all costs this year. The Rambler reported last year that while 439 students reportedly cast ballots in last year’s election, a review of the official roster of eligible voters, on which names were highlighted to denote who had voted, showed that only 396 names were highlighted, revealing a discrepancy of 43 votes.
An official SGA review suggested that this discrepancy would not have changed the outcome of the election and chalked it up to “human error.” However, there should be no such thing as human error in elections. SGA should work tirelessly to avoid such mistakes in the future or change the voting process to ensure the absence of “human error.” If mistakes do happen to occur, though, the organization should strive for the utmost transparency, informing the student body immediately and working to track the cause of the error and its solution.
Undoubtedly, SGA has begun to address the issue of transparency and is to be commended for that. Students in turn owe it to themselves and this institution to ensure that the best possible candidates are elected so they can continue to improve SGA as a representative organization.
We encourage students to carefully read each candidate’s campaign platform to educate themselves about the priorities and qualifications of each. Do not simply elect the person that shares your Greek affiliation or the person whose name you see or hear most frequently around campus. Your decision should be based on the candidate that makes it most clear that they have the university’s best interest at heart.