Senate turnout still low despite ‘competitive’ election

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter
Student Senate President Jarrett Martus

GVL Archive / Eric Coulter Student Senate President Jarrett Martus

Samantha Butcher

The Student Senate elections commenced at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, and the elections drew a larger number of candidates despite an average voter turnout.

Fifty-five students vied for the 44 open Senate seats. Of the 18 senators who ran for re-election, 17 earned seats for the 2011-2012 academic year. Current Student Senate President Jarrett Martus said they have struggled to fill the ballot with 44 candidates in past elections.

Six seats are kept open for incoming freshmen, graduate students and transfer students.

Less than nine percent of the student body – or 2,125 students – voted in the elections. Historically, the Student Senate elections garner votes from between eight and nine percent of students.

“I’m not really sure (why turnout was low) because it was more of a competitive election,” Martus said.

Martus, who opted not to run for next year’s Student Senate, said he hopes continued efforts to raise awareness of organization’s role on campus will help increase the numbers of both candidates and voters in future elections.

“I hope they continue to build relationships because I feel if people in the university – faculty, staff, administration and community members – don’t know who we are, then our voice isn’t as strong as it can be,” he said. “That was something I worked on this year – was making sure those people know who we are and that we can continue that.”

The current senators will remain in power until the end of the year. The new Senate will convene at 6 p.m. on Thursday for nominations to the 2011-2012 Cabinet. Voting for the Cabinet will take place at 4:30 p.m. on April 14.

To view a complete list of 2011-2012 senators, go to

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