The Student Governance Council passed a bill to provide free postage stamps for absentee ballots for all elections during its Feb. 25 meeting.
The Civic Engagement Bill was sponsored by sophomore senator-at-large Elijah Nishiura and passed 8–0 with one abstention. The act states that SGC will use funds set aside for student activities to pay for 400 stamps. Junior senator-at-large Vaughn Golden, who passed an amendment that limited the number of stamps SGC would purchase down to 400, said it would be best to start off with a relatively small number and then increase the amount if it finds that it needs more.
The stamps will be kept at the Office of Student Engagement, the Campus Center Information Desk, the Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Social Change lounge, the Office of Civic Engagement, the Ithaca College Library and any other locations SGC vice president of Campus Affairs, a position currently occupied by senior Jenna Mortenson, deems appropriate.
SGC will distribute posters advertising the availability of stamps and work with the Office of Civic Engagement to promote the initiative.
Nishiura said the purpose of the bill is to promote voting on campus. It will be put into practice in Fall 2019, and the stamps will be available every year for all elections.
He said he plans to figure out the logistics of providing free stamps during the 2019 elections and hopes to have all resources needed for the 2020 presidential election.
“We’re going to see how it goes for 2019,” Nishiura said. “Obviously, it’s not a big election year, but hopefully we can get it set up for 2020. It’s going to be a big, big turnout year, so we need to make sure we have a good amount [of stamps].”
Senior SGC president Alyse Harris said money for the stamps will be provided by SGC’s budget, which it uses to fund projects like providing buses to transport students to the Cortaca Jug, funding committees, providing food for celebrations and funding for sponsorships to work with other student organizations.
“There is a number of things that we do, but, depending on the cost of things like Cortaca or signature programs, sometimes there is a little bit of money left over to put into something like this,” Harris said. “Based on the way that budgets have gone in the past few years, we have had leftover funds that would totally be able to be put toward something like this.”
Senior Seondre Carolina, vice president of business and finance, said the amount of money needed for purchasing the stamps, which would be $220, makes up about 5 percent of the SGC budget.
Junior Farwa Shakeel, SGC vice president of academic affairs, thanked the senate for its discussion of the bill and said she was happy another bill was passed in an orderly fashion.
“Thank you all for a lovely discussion and another bill in the books,” Shakeel said, “This was very smooth.”