ASuop Election Voter Turnout Lowest in Years

Leadership will look at improving student outreach

PC: Ameer Othman

According to the Office of Student Leadership & Involvement, only 4.18% of the student body voted in the 2018 ASuop Elections this past March. This is the lowest voter turnout within the past four years with 2016 being its peak at a 29.74% turnout.

This year’s ASuop Presidential Election was the most uneventful in recent memory. Grant Kirkpatrick ‘18 and Emily Sackett ‘21, ran unopposed. Across the board, no candidate running for a Senate position garnered 100 votes.

With almost 4500 registered voters and a budget of over $800,000 that many clubs and organizations rely on to operate, the selection of these student representatives are essential for all student life on campus.

Last year’s voter turnout was 18.47%. After Kirkpatrick won the Presidential Election, The Pacifican interviewed him and his running mate, Caroline Styc ‘19, and the two said of the low voter turnout, “It’s really sad that only around 18% of people voted in the election…I don’t think by next year we will have 50% turnout, but I think 25% is a reasonable goal for next year.”

With this year’s turnout, Chief of Staff to the President, Henry Adkisson ‘18, explained and believed the core problem is the lack of communication with the student body.

“We can make all the excuses we like, but we definitely could have done a much better job at reaching out to students.”

With little outreach to the student body came little voter turnout. According to a College of the Pacific (COP) senior, “I didn’t vote because I felt as though I didn’t know the candidates well enough to make an informed decision. If I would have voted I would have just been filling in bubbles without any actual knowledge of what I was voting for.”

According to Adkisson, ASuop is addressing this issue.

“We’ve introduced two new positions: the Director of Communications and a Webmaster,” Adkisson said. “The Director of Communications, Jessica Nguyen, will be in charge of the ASuop government’s social media presence and outreach efforts. The Webmaster will be tasked with maintaining ASuop’s new website, where we’ll be keeping much more updated and detailed information regarding the current status and history of ASuop.”

Adkisson said that ASuop is still looking for a Webmaster to take care of the new website once it is launched this summer. Those who are interested in that position should email the ASuop President, asuoppresident@pacific.edu. Additionally, those interested in any other ASuop position can also email the ASuop president.

Adkisson indicated that he is hopeful that voter turnout will increase, and pointed out that it is not all bad news with regard to the ASuop elections.

On the bright side, it appears that every Executive position and most of the Senate seats will be filled for the coming year, so our search won’t have to be as desperate as it otherwise might be.”

If one is not able to run for any of the vacant positions, there are other ways of getting involved and having students’ voices be heard. According to the ASuop Constitution, “Regular meetings of the Senate shall be held at least every other week of the academic year, excluding holidays and school vacations.”

If one is unable to attend these public Senate meetings, Senate minutes can be found on the ASuop website.

Although voter turnout is at a record low, changes are being implemented to address this problem. After several internal changes, including amending the new ASuop Constitution in 2017, ASuop is making efforts to better their outreach and expand student involvement with the end goal of having a Senate that accurately reflects the student body and efficiently responds to the student body’s needs.

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