SG Elections: Number of Student Voters Worsens

Tensions within Student Government have put the Elections Board in a tough spot. SG can’t come to a consensus on just where their issue lies.


char Pratt

Photo by Gregory Cox | Managing Editor

Gabby Alvarado, Contributing Writer

Elections wrapped up on Sept. 17, and Student Government officials are trying to understand why there is — yet again — such low interest in voting.

Only 2.2 percent of the student population voted in this year’s election, lower than the national average of 10 percent, and lower than last fall’s 2.7 percent.

Student Government, responsible for a $7.5 million budget, hosts house elections every fall, and elections for the campus governors and student body president every spring.

People within SG argue that the lack of votes is because no one knows what Student Government is or does.

“SG as a whole isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do,” said elections chair Carter Lewis. “People don’t know what SG is about because SG leaders don’t advocate enough for it. These elections prove that elections [are] not just about marketing, we’re dealing with a Student Government issue.”

Not everyone in the organization agrees.

“I think we are working to make Student Government present,” said Christopher Ferreira, the Boca Raton campus governor. “I also think students know more about SG this year in comparison to previous years.”

Photo by Gregory Cox | Managing Editor
Photo by Gregory Cox | Managing Editor

Kathryn Edmunds, the student body president, claimed that “with the biggest incoming freshman class and 100 percent occupancy rate in on-campus housing, there is no reason why we shouldn’t have at least increased the voter turnout from last year.”

The spring presidential elections faced a similar issue when many candidates started to drop out. Lewis attributed the low turnout to this problem when Kathryn Edmunds and Casey Martin ran unopposed, and spent $0 on their campaign.

“Once students find out elections are not competitive, they stop campaigning,” said Lewis.

On top of these issues, Lewis feels that “even though the system is broken and the procedures don’t work, the fault has been attributed to myself.”

In response, Edmunds said, “Yes, the system was probably not all effective, but it was extremely accommodable and would have led to success had the leadership been there.”

Ferreira ties the paltry election turnout to a lack of vigor from the person Edmunds chose to lead the elections process.

“I didn’t see passion or follow through from him [Lewis], which ultimately led to failure,” continued Ferreira, on this year’s results.

Lewis plans to move the declaration of candidacy process fully online to avoid further issues in submitting candidates’ handwritten information into spreadsheets. This comes after one candidate did not show up on the ballot and other candidates’ names were misspelled.