Twenty-three percent. That’s the amount of students that voted in this year’s Associated Students election, resulting in Sonoma State University Sophomore Emily Hinton becoming the new President of Associated Students for the upcoming school year. With the voter turnout being the highest the university has seen in six years, what was different about this year’s election than years past?
Current Associated Students officers were told prior to the election season to recruit at least two students they believed would be superior representatives for the student body.
Reaching out to clubs and organizations on campus, the current student government staff attended meetings in attempt to increase student interest in running for positions in Associated Students.
Current President of Associated Students Brandon Mercer puts a lot of admiration on the shoulders of this year’s candidates for informing students about voting.
“The greatest effort was on behalf of our amazing candidates this year,” said Mercer. “With so many contested elections and our candidates really getting out there to talk to students, we were able to reach so many more students than in years past.”
With a meet and greet and a debate being the only Associated Students scheduled events for candidates to reach out to students, nominees could connect with students individually and get their ideas out to a bigger audience.
“My opponent is president of her organization and sorority and that gives her a lot of friends and votes,” said Hinton when asked about her campaign efforts. “All the votes I got were from students who genuinely believed I would be a good president.”
Looking toward subsequent elections, Associated Students intends to incorporate modern ways of pursuing students to vote for their student government.
“In the future we are primarily looking to social media options,” said Mercer. “As we exhaust low cost, high visibility options, we will pursue more elaborate initiatives that are trending across the nation in student government elections.”
There was only one Associated Students position not filled, the senator for the school of education, which is one of the smallest schools at the university.
In the 2010-11 school year, students voted on the student fee referendum for the construction of the Student Center on campus.
That election resulted in the highest voter turnout, a percentage not surpassed until this year.
Associated Students hopes students will continue to vote, ultimately increasing the voting percentage more in years to come.