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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

News

Voter turnout peaks for SGA fall elections

The Student Government Association has ended its fall semester senatorial elections with a voter turnout almost double what it experienced this past spring.

About 18 percent of eligible voters cast ballots for their chosen candidates last week, as compared with about 10 percent in the spring, senior Kevin Fish, SGA president, said.

Fish said this is the largest voter turnout SGA has in its records.

Eight of the 10 available senate positions were filled. Senate seats representing the School of Music and graduate studies are still open.

Colette Heefner secured the final senate seat for the class of 2011. Elma Borcilo won the remaining junior class senate seat. Lindsey Smith, Robert Hohn, Justin Pyron and Courtney Brown will represent the freshman class. Sophomore Shelby Smith will be the senator for the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, and junior Albert Roy will be the transfer student senator.

All sophomore senate seats were filled in the spring elections.

Hohn said he decided to run because he participated in student government at his high school in Long Island. One of his proposals for election was the “beautification” of Ithaca College.

“A lot of the Ithaca campus other than the northwest part near the Peggy Ryan Williams building is bland, and there are no flowers, no benches,” he said. “So I want to see if we can get any sort of funding from the administration … or some kind of club or anything started.”

Polls showed about 28 percent of the freshman class voted online during elections, while 15 percent of seniors, 13 percent of juniors, 4 percent of transfer students and 16 percent of DIIS students voted, Fish said.

Senior Julia Dunn, SGA vice president of communications, said the choice to make SurveyMonkey the host website this year instead of Votenet — the website used last year — contributed to the increase in voters. SurveyMonkey’s ease of use made the election process smoother, Dunn said.

Fish said the board made the switch after discovering it was much more cost-efficient.

Previously, SGA elections cost $10,000 each year. With the new site, $200 will be spent per semester, he said.

Fish said the executive board will work to market elections even more in the future.

“I have now made it one of my priorities,” he said. “We are going to make elections a big thing. Look out for spring semester because the elections are going to be quite the spectacle.”

Students interested in the open senate seats should contact Julia Dunn at jdunn1@ithaca.edu.