Voter turnout drops

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Voter turnout drops

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By Gage Miskimen  |  [email protected]

Voter turnout at this year’s UISG election was significantly lower than in last year’s election.

In a landslide victory for Rachel Zuckerman, Lauren Freeman, and the rest of the BLOC Party, the election saw low voting numbers.

The total number of votes cast in this year’s election was 2,880. The spring enrollment for undergraduates at the University of Iowa is 21,551, meaning 13.36 percent of eligible voters voted.

Last year, 6,278 of 20,864 undergraduate students voted in the election, which saw a very competitive campaign and a victory for REAL Party candidates Liz Mills and Morgan Brittain. The election in 2015 was also the second-highest turnout since UISG started keeping track in 1993.

Student elections commissioner Evan McCarthy said he would have liked to see more students vote.

“Obviously, we prefer higher turnout,” he said. “I think the election was hampered by not having another slate of senators from the other party.”

The UISG Senate race saw the majority of candidates being from the BLOC Party and only a handful of independent candidates and zero candidates from the Yes Party.

Voting online is the only possible method for a campus such as the University of Iowa, McCarthy said.

“I think online voting is the only real option,” he said. “I think part of the reason for lower turnout is only having a week or two to really campaign, but it’s stressful to do so for students who are involved in other things as well, so it shouldn’t be longer than that.”

McCarthy said he feels a lot of the students are either unaware of UISG or doesn’t care enough to vote.

“I think the population thinks student government doesn’t matter,” he said. “I think this is something both campaigns wanted to fix, so we should see more done for next year.”

UISG President-elect Zuckerman said BLOC has an entire initiative in its platform dedicated to making UISG more accessible and visible.

“People don’t realize UISG does a lot,” she said. “Next year, our goal is to be really public with strides we’re making and what we are doing. We were really surprised with the low turnout, but we will continue to do what we can to get people to vote.”

BLOC member Mariah Prendergast, a newly elected senator for UISG, said she agreed with Zuckerman.

“UISG needs to publicize efforts and make sure students know what we’re doing year round so the elections aren’t the first time hearing about it, and I really think you can count on that with the BLOC Party in office.”

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