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SGA: Declining trend in votes at elections

Advice on how to reverse the trend in declining number of votes for SGA elections was offered by current SGA senators at a meeting Wednesday, Sept. 18.

579 students voted in the SGA elections of fall 2013. This is 125 less than fall 2012 and 337 less than fall 2011.

SGA President Mike Rainier said he had expected this drop due to SGA legislation passed before this election.

“The legislation regulated how candidates can campaign.” Rainier said. “For instance, a student can’t walk around with a laptop going up to people saying ‘Hey, vote for me.’”

SGA members were asked to think of three things the SGA could do to promote voting.

Senators proposed ideas like collecting data on what students want, having an SGA-sponsored event with polls and having candidates give brief descriptions of themselves so students can learn more about them.

Another proposal was to have an open forum where candidates may state their goals, for which president Rainier advocated, but with a caveat.

“Would we be giving an upper hand to students who don’t have class during the time of the open forum?” Rainier said. He was also concerned that freshmen would skip class to attend the forum.

Newly-elected SGA members agreed the elections “felt too rushed” and asked for extended time between candidate orientation and elections.

Ashley Humphrey from the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) spoke to the SGA. Humphrey is a graduate student at Tennessee Technological University serving her second year on the TBR as a representative for over 200,000 students in Tennessee.

Humphrey encouraged students who are “looking for something more” than student government to run for the TBR position, though she said, “it can be challenging.”

Humphrey said she wanted to learn as much as possible about APSU so she can better represent Tennessee students.

SGA Vice President Jessi Dillingham showed SGA members a quick video on Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL), which is an opportunity for students to propose legislation to the Tennessee legislature.

Humphrey said TISL is “a wonderful experience.”

New SGA members stated the oath of office led by Chief Justice Kelsey Smith. Dillingham also addressed the new members about parliamentary procedure.

The seven new members will be trained in Parliamentary Procedure and will have their pictures taken for the SGA website on Wednesday, Sept. 25.

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