Low voter turnout in USGD election

Downtown Phoenix and West had comparable vote totals for executive tickets, but downtown Phoenix is almost three times the size

The 2017-18 Undergraduate Student Government Downtown elections had the second-lowest turnout of the last six elections at the campus, with only 381 students marking a ballot over two days of voting. 

Voter turnout for the USGD elections was one of the lower turnouts in campus history, with one winning senate candidate only receiving 11 total votes. The lowest turnout in campus history was in 2015 with only 276 voters making it to the polls. 

On the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, there was one executive ticket and senatorial candidates for four separate colleges.

Sabine Galvis, a journalism and mass communication freshman, voted in the recent election despite the low turnout numbers.

“I voted because I think it is important to have a say in our university and where tuition is going,” Galvis said. “I think it’s important to have a voice in our four years here.”

She said that she thought that most of the candidates missed their marks when campaigning.

“Most of the info I saw was people self-promoting on social media for their personal campaigns,” Galvis said. “Most of the (biographies) didn’t differentiate from other candidates and most didn’t have specific issues they fought for.”

Kimberly Rapanut, a journalism and mass communication freshman, is the newly elected senator for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She had the highest number of counted votes compared to the rest of senatorial candidates, at 191 votes.

“It’s very important that we get student engagement because it’s our job to represent the student body,” Rapanut said. “Not all students are very well informed about what USG is doing, and USG does a very good job at making their records public."

Rapanut said that although the Downtown Phoenix campus is much smaller, some of the blame could fall under busy schedules and an ignored online ballot.

“They don’t know until election time comes around, and people are really busy,” Rapanut said. “Doing it online might make some students brush it off initially, and they forget to return to it."

Although the Phoenix campus has a student population about three times greater than the West campus, the total number of votes for the executive ticket was only a 74-vote difference. Both campuses had only one ticket running. 

The total number of votes for the West campus executive election was 307. The downtown campus had 381. 

Jackson Dangremond, president of USGD, said that there needs to be an active relationship between USG and the students they represent.

“Voter turnout is definitely something we look to increase next year,” Dangremond said.

During this year's campaign, downtown only had one executive ticket that students could vote for. In the future, USGD hopes to have more students that choose for positions.

“I think it would be beneficial to have multiple students on the ballot downtown,” Dangremond said. “We are really working on promoting the next generation of students."

Reach the reporter at Victor.ren@asu.edu and follow @MrVictorRen on Twitter.

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