Student turnout drops 30 percent in SGA elections

Cyrus Nuval
Staff Writer

Voter turnout for Fall 2013 Monroe Park Student Government Association elections fell by 30 percent compared to last semester’s elections. During the 2013 Spring SGA elections, 1,465 students cast their votes. This semester, voter turnout fell to 1,011.

Julia Rupert, a sophomore majoring in interior design and a re-elected senator of the Monroe Park SGA, said she thinks many students didn’t know the election took place on Nov. 12.
“I don’t think the elections committee or the (Public Relations) Committee spread enough information about the elections to the students,” Rupert said. “I didn’t see anything new or improved from the methods the committees used last year and last semester.”

Rupert said the Elections and Public Relations Committees should have used more social media to increase awareness about the elections among the student body.

“We should have advertised better,” Rupert said. “There were talks about advertising through the TelegRAM and other social media … The social media wasn’t disseminated as well as I thought it would have been and the TelegRAM didn’t go, though. I don’t think the committees followed through on that.”

Re-elected senator and biology major Tulsi Shah, said the social media miscommunication between the senators was caused by internal and leadership problems within elections committee.

“We had to have a new elections chairman in the middle of the process,” Shah said. “Because of that, we had to push back the elections to a later date and the committee had a difficult time publicizing the event to the student body.”

Cody Moore, a junior majoring in environmental studies and a senator of the Monroe Park SGA on the elections committee, said the decrease in voter turnout was because the president and vice president positions were not voted on this election.

“The offices of president and vice president are voted on during the Spring elections, not the fall elections,” Moore said. “We usually see higher voter turnouts during spring … Compared to last fall elections however, voter turnout did increase.”

In the election last fall, 938 students voted. Compared to this election, voter turnout increased by 7 percent.

SGA President Vikhyath Veeramachaneni said he agrees with Moore regarding the turnout rate between spring and fall elections.

“Spring always goes better because we have candidates for president and vice president running,” Veeramachaneni said. “Despite the transitions we had to do, … still having more than 1,000 people vote is a pretty good result.”

However, Veeramachaneni said he thinks the committees and candidates should improve their methods of campaigning.

“The candidates should make it more about the schools they are a part of or planning on representing so that the students of that school know who is representing them in the SGA,” Veeramachaneni said. “The students don’t want to vote for someone they’ve never heard of or have never seen.”

Veeramachaneni said his Representative Senate Bill would have improved election results. If the bill had passed before the fall elections, students would have voted for two or six senators to represent the school that their major is a part of. The number of representatives the school has is proportional to the number of students enrolled in the school.

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