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It’s official. The Indiana University of Pennsylvania Student Government Association now has a new incumbent president and vice president.
Marissa Olean (junior, criminology) and Zachery Chandler (junior, business education) have successfully earned the titles of president and vice president respectively.
While the unopposed ticket was guaranteed a victory, student participation in the election was not guaranteed.
“We at least doubled the voter turn-out from last semester,” Chandler said.
This year, Olean-Chandler received 1,200 votes.
According to a Qualtrics Survey, the April 2013 SGA election saw 616 votes, a 46 percent decrease from the previous election which saw a voter turnout of 1,136. In this election, the trend has changed, according to Chandler.
A total of 1,692 students voted in this combined SGA-Crimson Court election. That’s 1,076 more than the April 2013 election, an increase of 175 percent.
Olean credits this election’s voter success to the fact that the election was held during the fall semester as opposed to the spring. This year the SGA election was combined with Crimson Court elections.
“The voter turnout this semester was much higher than the last,” Olean said. “I’m sure this is partially because SGA elections are combined with the Crimson Court elections this year.”
In addition to the date change of the elections, Olean said voter turnout may have been affected by the way the voter survey was sent out.
“We sent the emails out through an SGA member’s account instead of our organization’s account,” Olean said. “This may have contributed to higher numbers because students are more likely to open an email from a fellow student than from an organization. We have also been getting SGA more publicity around campus. I believe this also increased voter turnout.”
With the rise in voter turnout, the change in the date of the SGA elections appears to have been beneficial. However, Chandler said the SGA election is not the only “potential benefactor” of the election date change.
“I would rather see how the year goes before I give any definite answer as to whether I believe this is a better system or not,” Chandler said. “It’s a pilot, and until it’s time to evaluate the pilot, I am just going to give it my all.”