As I previously reported, SGA took several steps this year in order to increase voter turnout. Two of the most noticeable initiatives were smart phone voting and a physical voting station that was set up in the Champagnat breezeway, a high traffic area particularly for freshman. In addition, the elections commission plastered posters all over campus and had T-shirts made in order to increase awareness.
Based on the results that came in tonight, this initiative seems to have worked. 1643 Marist students voted in the election, which makes for 36.33% of the student body. The elections commission had set a goal of 35% turnout.
“I’m ecstatic about the turnout,” said elections commission head Erica Jordan. “We were down [from our goal of 35%] by about 150 votes with an hour of voting time left and we ended up surpassing our goal by 100 votes, setting a Marist record.”
The past several years have seen turnout of 15% or less. Of course, one reason last year’s election saw such a low turnout was almost certainly due to the uncontested race for student body president. This race came with a good deal of controversy that SGA tried to correct with the appointing of an elections commission consisting of three members this year.
It remains to be seen whether smart phone voting provided a boost to the numbers. SGA Chief Information Office Michael Janofsky tells me that the data could be in as early as tomorrow as to how many people voted on their mobile device.
Stay tuned for an update on this.