Campus, News

SG election voter turnout higher than previous year

The members of the winning Student Government Executive Board slate, the four in the middle, pose with the Student Election Commission co-chairs, on the ends. RYAN GREGORY/ DFP STAFF

By Alex LaSalvia and Audrey Martin

During this year’s Student Government Executive Board election, 2,109 Boston University students cast a vote through the Student Link.

According to the Student Election Commission, 1,396 students voted for the EmpowerBU slate, and 628 students voted for the YourBU slate, with others opting to write in a name. EmpowerBU will serve as SG’s Executive Board for the 2019-20 academic year.

This year’s voter turnout was higher than that it was in 2018, when students cast around 1,700 votes. Voting for the SG executive board was open from March 31 through April 7.

The EmpowerBU slate consists of President-elect Hafzat Akanni, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, Executive Vice President-elect Neha Iyer, a junior in the Questrom School of Business, VP of Finance-elect Lukas Flores, a sophomore in Questrom and VP of Internal Affairs-elect Jessica Zheng, a CAS freshman.

The SEC wrote in an email voter turnout was higher this year than it has ever been.

“We were so excited to see the voter count go up by 100s every hour,” the commission wrote. “It was the best feeling ever!”

This year, the SEC hosted a raffle in which each student who showed they had voted would receive a ticket to enter and potentially win a Starbucks card, Amazon card or speaker, according to the email. Raffle winners, the SEC wrote, will be announced soon.

“This definitely helped voter turnout and is a technique we will use for the upcoming years,” the commision wrote.

Additionally, for next year’s executive board election, the SEC stated they will announce the competing slates around January before the spring semester beings.

“This will help students gather a slate and raise not only the number of competitors but the voter turnout,” the commission wrote.

Cala Adair, a senior in the College of Communication, said she did not vote because she was unaware the voting was happening.

“I think I keep ignoring those emails,” she said, “because BU emails me a lot.”

Eliz Dikener, a freshman in CAS, said she voted after she was approached by the campaign managers for one of the slates.

“I was approached by their campaign in a very objective way, not to be like vote for them specifically, but I just got the rundown of each just to be informed,” Dikener said. “And then from there, I made my decision.”

Alec Vaughn, a junior in the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, said he understands why some students don’t make voting a priority, as April is a busy month for a lot of students.

“I mean, I have two term papers due next Wednesday as well as an exam in less than 24 hours,” he said, “so voting is not the first thing that came to my mind last week.”

Vaughn did vote in the election, he said, and was motivated to participate by thinking about the impact next year’s slate would have on him.

“I guess what influences my voting is how the next student governing body will influence daily life here,” Vaughn said, “like social activities and bringing the campus together.”

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