Voting for the Student Government Association executive elections is being held online until April 1 at 7 p.m. Voting usually takes place online and at limited on-campus locations, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SGA election commissioner Madison Crimm said she doesn’t have concerns about the change in the election or that it will affect voter turnout among students.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, we were planning to move to a completely online voter format,” Crimm said. “During homecoming elections, very few voters utilized the physical voting stations on campus, so we were confident that strictly online voting would not make a huge difference in terms of voter participation. I am confident that the student body will remain invested in these elections as they have in past ones.”
Without a physical presence on campus, Crimm said SGA is using its social media pages to promote the elections.
“We want to make sure that voters are informed about the vote and the people for whom they are voting. The communications branch of SGA Cabinet has worked diligently to ensure that our social media accounts remain informative and interactive. We also have the website updated with candidate profiles that show each candidate’s qualifications,” Crimm said.
Junior communications studies major Rachel Shoemaker, who is running for SGA president, has also been using social media in her campaign.
“My initial concern was that since we are not physically on campus, we would not have the chance to remind students in person to vote,” Shoemaker said. “I have been proven wrong in the fact that everyone that I have reached out to has voted already, and I have seen an abundance of advertising on social media reminding students about the election.”
Shoemaker said that she doesn’t think the elections being only online will affect voter participation.
“Because it is an all online election, it is an easy process that takes less than 30 seconds,” Shoemaker said. “I believe that the SGA communication team has done a wonderful job at advertising and getting the message out to students. With the free time that we now have because of social distancing, I believe that students will have the ample amount of time needed to vote.”
Kaylen Gray, a sophomore medical laboratory science major, who is running for vice president of judicial affairs. She said that she likes the online format for the elections, but is concerned it will affect participation.
“I believe most voting will be happening off-campus and this could be a challenge for those unable to access the internet,” Gray said. “This could also cause problems due to students not seeing candidates physically campaigning on campus. This is also a confusing time for students because there is a lot going on outside of elections and I believe this will have the biggest effect on voter participation.”The results of the election will be announced April 1 at 8 p.m. through a livestream on the SGA Facebook page.