SGA Revamps Election Process

by Lyman Stone

The time of year when Transylvania students choose their Student Government Association officers for next year is almost here. SGA’s elections will start next Monday, March 29.

Elections for vice president, secretary and treasurer will be held March 29-30, as well as the presidential primary, which will narrow the field to the top three candidates.

Because there are five SGA presidential candidates, the election will be divided into at least two rounds. After the primary, the formal SGA presidential election will be held April 1-2, as well as runoffs between the top two candidates for other officer positions if no candidate received a majority. If, after the second round of elections, no presidential candidate has attained a majority, then on April 5-6 there will be a runoff between the top two presidential candidates.

The general SGA senate election will also take place on April 5-6.

All voting will be conducted in Forrer Front Lobby from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and again from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Senate candidates must obtain the signatures of 43 students and turn their petition in to SGA by Friday, March 26. Petitions for officer seats are already filed, and no more officer petitions are being accepted.

According to SGA elections committee chair Tyler Murphy, the elections committee has instituted some changes in the election process. Murphy said this was done in order to avoid some of the complications of last year’s SGA elections, which included allegations that votes were incorrectly tallied.

This year all voters will sign a roster and be verified by an election worker before voting. Murphy said that previously the names of voters would simply be highlighted on a long list of Transy students. This year, students will be required to sign, certifying that they did, in fact, cast their ballot.

Additionally, there will be some limited online voting for students studying abroad, commuters and students who are traveling, another unprecedented procedure for SGA.

Individual paper ballots will be cast, in order to facilitate an exact recount if necessary. Murphy said this procedure was used successfully in the first-year SGA elections in October.

While the process may seem complicated, Murphy commented, “Students are patient with (the election process) and participate in each phase of the process. … At the end of the day, student government is about the students who elect its members and leaders.”

Murphy said that, while historical turnout for elections has been around 30-40 percent, he expects to reach or exceed 50 percent, both due to the large field of candidates all drawing in support and due to increased transparency and voting access.

Candidates for president are Grant Buckles, Jessica Beard, Daniel Cooper, Prya Murad and Jessica Short; for vice president, Julion Cowen, Andrew Goff and Anderson Salinas; for secretary, Josh Edge, Alex Keys and Kelsey Truman; and for treasurer, Charli Fant.

Results for each round of voting will be available March 31, April 3 and April 7 at 7 p.m. outside the SGA office.


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