About 375 more students voted in this year’s Student Association general election compared to last year – an 11 percent increase that people close to the election attribute to better placement of online voting stations and the presence three slates this year.
While 2,806 students voted in the 2005 election – about 200 fewer than in 2004 – 3,183 voted last Wednesday and Thursday for SA president. The election was for positions in the SA including executive vice president and in the Senate, as well as Program Board chair and vice chair and Marvin Center governors. The University’s student population did not change much from last year.
“The increased online polling stations I think really contributed to the high turnout and quick voting turnaround time,” said Joint Election Committee member Ryan Sullivan, a sophomore.
Last week, online polling locations were in the Marvin Center, on the Mount Vernon Campus, in the Medical School’s Ross Hall and in 1957 E Street Last year there was an online voting station at the less -crowded Hall of Government adviser to this year’s GWUnited slate, said that while he expected before the election that voter turnout would be low, he said the three slates that ran this year attracted more students to the polls. Members of the slates set up shop along H Street all day last Wednesday and Thursday, handing out freebies and campaign literature.
“It’s pretty impressive,” Neidig said. “I thought the slates would do more overlapping and that all three of them would be drawing from the same pool of 2,500 people, but more students actually came out this year.”
Despite the highest voter turnout in three years, the JEC was able to announce the results of the election earlier than in previous years on Friday.
While last year’s returns were not announced until about 2:30 a.m., this year the JEC began announcing results at 12:50 Friday morning.
Neidig said he hopes that the increased voter turnout this year will equate to more legitimacy for the SA. Earlier this year, some said changes to the SA constitution were illegitimate because so few students – 547 – voted in a constitutional referendum this fall.
Neidig said, “After next year, if we do not start to see results from our SA, they will no longer have the excuse that they do not have the support of students.”