The elections committee of VCU’s Monroe Park student government association expects voter turnout to increase with this coming fall’s SGA elections despite not making any changes to the way they advertise the elections to students.
During last semester’s elections, 1,465 students voted for a president, vice president and 30 senators. This semester, members of the elections and public relations committees said they are expecting to exceed that number.
Mihir Baxi, chairperson for the Monroe Park SGA’s elections committee, said he thinks with the steps taken by the elections and public relations committees, voter turnout should increase.
“We have been doing what we can to get our name and the awareness about the elections out there,” Baxi said. “Our online presence has increased … we’ve also increased our actual campus presence.”
Aside from the signs and posters placed around the campus, the delegates and senators have promoted the SGA by approaching students, asking them about university issues and reminding them about the upcoming elections.
“I can’t exactly say how high turnout will increase this semester because we haven’t made any exact projections or calculations,” Baxi said. “But because of the efforts the delegates and senators have made recently, I am sure that we will get a lot more voters this elections than we did last time.”
However, there are some members of the senate who do not agree.
One such senator is sophomore interior design major, Julia Rubert, who said she thinks voter turnout will be about the same as last year’s election.
“Leadership is hoping for an increase, but I am not so sure,” Rubert said. “We got a late start for the elections and the campaigning … we used to begin our campaigns earlier and we haven’t really changed or improved the way we communicate to the students about the elections.”
Rubert also said there are still candidates running for senate who have not finished up their elections packets. Until they have finished their election packets, they cannot officially campaign for the SGA senate.
An elections packet is a stack of documents that aspiring candidates are required to sign and answer to acknowledge that they understand the rules of campaigning for a senate seat, Rubert said.
“The elections committee is expecting a greater turnout but I’m thinking it’s going to be about the same,” Rubert said. “If there’s increase, it might be a slight or minimal one.”
Rubert herself is running for re-election in the Monroe Park SGA senate.
Brittney Maddox, a sophomore art education major, said she has heard of the SGA, but not the upcoming elections. Maddox said she and her friends have not seen any visible posters or signs, have not been approached by campaigning candidates and were not told online about the elections.
“I mean I’ve heard about them (the SGA) before but I’m not really even sure what the organization even does,” Maddox said. “I don’t even know if they have a social networking site … I don’t know if I should even vote because I don’t know who are the people representing me and students like me.”
Junior Keenan Collins, an English major, said he wasn’t even aware that the SGA existed.
“It’s probably my bad or because I’m more focused on other things, but I’ve never even heard of the SGA,” Collins said. “I’m glad that we have people representing the student body but they haven’t really made themselves visible, to people like me at least.”
Voting for the 30 open senate seats begins Nov. 12 and ends Nov. 14. The positions of president, vice president and the other 30 senate seats are voted on during the spring semester.