SGA hopes for increased voter turnout in upcoming election

Members of the Student Government Association expect an increased voter turnout for this semester’s fall election.

Historically, voter turnout for SGA elections has been consistently six to seven percent of the undergraduate student population—between 229 and 267 students. Executive President Jessica Guida said SGA has been working to increase student awareness about the SGA elections via emails and social media.

SGA began live-streaming their meetings on Facebook this semester. These meetings receive anywhere between 66 and more than 200 views. SGA also appointed Public Relations Chair Liliana Schmalenberger to raise student awareness about SGA.

Schmalenberger significantly increased SGA social media presence since her appointment, according to Guida. Guida said one way Schmalenberger has done this is by creating a ‘Why SGA’ social media campaign. The campaign is meant to build up to elections by posting photos of current SGA members captioned with the reasons they joined SGA.

SGA also set up posters around campus for students to voice their academic concerns before the upcoming Nov. 27 Town Hall in hopes of fostering communication between the student body and SGA. The Town Hall will take place in the Bill Bordy Theater as a moderated discussion between students and faculty.

This comes after frustrated students posted flyers on the doors of the Multipurpose Room to protest SGA inaction in spring 2018.

Guida said she is hopeful voter turnout will slightly increase.

“If we can get a little bit more than we did last year, great,” Guida said. “If in the spring we can do a little bit more than that, great.”

Guida said class presidents emailed their constituents to make them more aware of open positions in their class. Guida emailed the freshman class since they do not have a president yet. The class presidents and Guida will email the student body again once voting starts on election days Nov. 14 and 15.

Executive Vice President Raz Moayed said she is confident voter turnout will increase to ten percent of students this semester.

“Just the amount of students who want to be a part of SGA this year is amazing,” Moayed said.

Schmalenberger said in an email statement she is confident voter turnout will increase because of her efforts.

“Through all of our social media outreach, I think it’s definitely going to improve our voter turnout compared to years past,” Schmalenberger said in her statement.

SGA moved the Nov. 8 candidate press night to Center Stage from a Walker Building classroom to make more students aware of the elections, according to Guida.

Elections Chair Christopher Henderson-West said he is confident voter turnout will remain consistent and is looking ahead to spring elections where he wants to make a more significant change in voter turnout.

“Ideally my goal for next spring is to get it up to at least ten percent,” Henderson-West said. “It sounds like a small increase but is actually a lot of students.”

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