A campaign against apathy

Karen Schubert

With its presidential and senatorial elections right around the corner, the Student Government Association anticipates voter turnout to be at an all-time high this year.

The high expectations are due to the wide range of options for both the presidential and vice presidential candidates and the six-candidate commerce and finance senate race, according to Tom Mogan, director of Student Development and adviser to SGA.

Mogan said since voting became available online in 1999, student participation has increased dramatically.

The first year of online voting drew just 1,250 students votes, but as the Internet has continued to spread across campus, participation has been on the rise. Last year 2,388 students participated in the online election.

“It is very easy to participate in SGA elections,” election commissioner Patrick Sheldrake said. “A link will be posted on the student government page, www.sga.villanova.edu, to where a student can log in and vote online.”

“This is your community, your school, and if you want positive change and things to be done a certain way then voting is your voice,” vice presidential candidate Timothy McGovern, who is running with fellow junior Nestor Fernandez, said.

While the statistics show that voter turnout is constantly increasing, efforts to further raise these numbers are ongoing.

The publicity for the election is widespread on campus. Monday and Tuesday’s voting hours are on every poster, and SGA sends out e-mails to remind students to take the time to vote.

“I hope that it is not the case where students feel that their votes do not count,” Mogan said.

“We have had some tight races in the past where every vote counts. SGA is an important organization on this campus and accomplishes a lot more than most students, faculty and staff give them credit for.”

Mogan advised students to take the time to research candidate platforms and take the voting process seriously.

Many students agree with Mogan that their voice counts and do take voting for student government office seriously.

“I felt it was my responsibility to vote or otherwise I really didn’t have [the] right to complain about anything,” junior Michelle Proulx said.

Students also had ideas on how to get more publicity, and hopefully higher turnout, for student government’s elections.

“Figure out a way so that people can vote by just replying to an e-mail,” senior Quoc Ngo said.

Other students felt more exposure for the candidates would lead to a stronger turnout.

“I think SGA could have more than one debate and publicize the elections more,” junior Laura Quilty said.

The SGA debate for presidential hopefuls was held last Thursday night in the Connelly Center Cinema. It attracted about 100 spectators.

Though this number is somewhat higher than the usual turnout, it still reflects only slightly more than one percent of the entire student body.