Low voter turnout harms the ticket

by Emmilly Nguyen, Staff Wrier

You may have noticed campaign posters around campus lately — some have names and some have faces plastered all over them. Regardless of their visual appeal, they dont seem to influence the student body.

Spring is here and the smell of fresh ambition fills the air as students run for the executive and representative positions of Associated Student.

Although in recent years there have been improved efforts to get the word out about A.S. elections, the process remains relatively ignored by San Diego State students.

A.S. hopes for a 20 percent voter turnout this year. This is an ambitious goal since voter turnout for the 2014 elections were at a dismal 9.9 percent, 8 percent lower from the previous year. A 9.9 percent voter turnout means out of the approximate 30,000 undergraduate students enrolled at SDSU, roughly 2,900 voted.

Eligibility requirements ensure candidate are enrolled in at least six units of coursework, have earned at least six units in the previous semester, have at least a 2.0 GPA, and are not on academic or juridical probation. Aside from the low voter turnout, these standards are relatively low and many of the candidates in the past have run unopposed.

Given these not-so-impressive requirements, by non-voting students are allowing the presence of almost any student in a seat that makes decisions impacting the entire university.

A.S. make decisions that affect the student body and are representatives of every member of SDSU. If students do not vote, it makes it easier to elect a candidate who doesn’t thoroughly address campus concerns, making impactful decisions without these considerations.

Either students do not care or they don’t have enough information to vote. Whatever the case may be, A.S. needs to motivate students to participate, attend debates and vote.

The gap between the involved and uninvolved students on campus is large, since many students who live on and off campus just go to classes and go home.

“It is a problem, students need to know what’s going on in their school,” liberal studies freshman Stephanie White said.

White is a commuter and has not heard anything about the A.S. election for this semester. She suggests fliers around school for upcoming debates and candidate speeches during passing periods to better educate the student body, all of which would be helpful.

Most information about A.S. elections and events are shared online but it’s important to note students are scattered across various social media platforms. If someone is rarely on Facebook or doesn’t like to click on event invites, her or she may completely miss the informative posts.

Attention grabbing and informational posters or fliers, rather than just names and faces, posted around school may make a huge difference. Or, as sad as it may sound, how about an incentive to get more students to vote?

According to the A.S. website, Candidate Debates were from March 9 to March 12 in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union. In many cases, at least my own, many students didn’t hear about these debates until after.

Other than to friends and supporters, the candidates are just unfamiliar faces and names on a poster a week before elections. This means nothing without proper promotion of the debates.

Although the debates aren’t the only ways to get proper insight on the candidates, students still aren’t taking the time to get information elsewhere.

Students have the resources to be involved in the election but most of the time they just didn’t know it exists or when it’s coming up. Many students don’t even know where to vote. A.S. should work harder toward making this information more easily accessible. Maybe the lack of interest on part of students is a bigger problem, but when it comes to electing a student representatives, the bigger responsibility falls on the shoulders of Associated Students.

Students should be active and make their votes matter. And if they don’t see a candidate the impresses them, they should run themselves. We can’t have a democracy of uneducated and uninterested citizens.

March 16 at 8 a.m. marks the beginning of general elections and lasts until March 19 at 7 p.m., during which students log on to SDSU Webportal to cast their votes. So, make sure to vote — these candidates represent you.