After questions from Pipe Dream yesterday, the SA finally posted sample ballots for the upcoming election — marking the first time a student doesn’t have to go out of his or her way to see who’s running.
Sweeps already happened, and the elections are only days away. The overwhelming majority of students polled didn’t know when the elections were, let alone who was running.
Though many candidates have been campaigning, putting up flyers and posters around campus, it is ultimately the responsibility of the elections committee to keep the student body informed and make sure that elections run smoothly. For an organization that seems dedicated to being more transparent and accessible this year, it’s strange that the SA would be so negligent in advertising for what should be a big deal to the student population. Students should be involved in selecting those who will represent them to the administration and the community.
There seems to be a fair amount of apathy on campus — not many students went to the meetings discussing the constitution, and based on our information no one seems to know what’s going on. But perhaps this is because students haven’t been given the opportunity to participate. A student government body is only as effective as the students it represents, and if no one even knows who their representatives are, how can they be expected to get more involved or to care?
No SA-Line or B-Line emails brought up the specific details about the elections except the date, and the initial emails about sweeps neglected to mention either the time or date. The mystery surrounding the election ballot is baffling. There doesn’t seem to be a motive for keeping any information from the student body, but even when a student emailed asking a very direct question — What candidates and referendums will be on the ballot? — the questions were circumvented time and again. The student was given everything but the simple list of candidates he asked for.
And when one member of the editorial board went to the SA office this week, he noticed a stack of flyers telling students to vote yes for the revised constitution — a blatant violation of the bylaws. SA leadership should know by now that this isn’t allowed.
The primary responsibility of the SA elections committee is to oversee the elections. Keeping students informed about who might be representing them next year and what changes might be made to the student government seems a simple task. It was a huge oversight on their part that they didn’t release this information in time for students to meet the candidates or see them defend their platforms before they have to vote.
On the whole, during this process the SA has seemed irresponsible and uninterested in getting students to participate. It’s almost as though they don’t really want students to be involved.
SA elections have always had low turnout rates, and it’s no wonder.