Low Voter Turnout

Recently held elections for new Associated Students directors to serve on next year's board had a low voter turnout. Of the 27,000 plus students that make up the student body only 700 went to cast a vote. This low number represents only one percent of the student population.

The A.S. election was the week before spring break. Not only was spring break around the corner but it was also mid term, when mid term tests are held.

By order of the constitution of the A.S., elections must take place either the sixth, seventh, or eighth week of the semester. According to Cecile Hanrahan, the faculty advisor of the Inter-Club Council, the decision to hold the elections on the eighth week was to allow time to make sure all who applied to run were qualified.

Outgoing A.S. President Jeronimo Saldana has a spin as to why to the election turnout was so small.

"I don't know the candidates, which says a lot," Saldana said. "Last year all the candidates I knew by name because they were very active on campus."

The election committee did make an effort the get the word out about the election to the students of SMC. In March the ICC put together a social in the Cayton center. At this event each candidate was allowed to speak in front of the students present and let all know who they were and what office they were running for. The election committee also ran a raffle. After each student went into the booths to fill in their ballots, a member of the committee would give the student a raffle ticket.

"The result of the campaigning was not as big as the election committee wanted," Hanrahan said. "Students just did not seem interested." She went on to say, "I am not sure if timing was the major factor for the lack of students who voted."

Milos Blagojevic was one of the many students who did not vote at this year's election. He didn't vote, as he does not like the way the A.S. government is run.

"The A.S. is a joke. It's a bunch of people that should be in a club and they just rotate positions every semester, and it's a Mickey Mouse type of government," Blagojevic said. "If they publicized it and gave people a reason to vote, such as having people run against each other for an office, not just one

person. What's the point? You might just go in with a blindfold and just punch names."

Vice President Sadia Afolabi, like Hanrahan, doesn't believe there is one big reason for the low turnout. However, she does think that the timing of the election did have an effect on the turnout.

"It was really hard to get student to vote because I went to a couple of classes and everybody said, 'I have to study. I don't have time to vote,'" Afolabi said.

President Lillian Cavalieri doesn't like the fact that there was such a low turnout. She received at least 500 votes, which is around 70 to 80 percent of the total vote, but believes there was a problem with the message getting out about the election.

"I am concerned about creditability due to the low vote but it's not all about creditability, but it's about your presentation and what you actually do," said Cavalieri "I think that I am going to prove myself very well when the fall semester begins."

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