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Editorial

Students should make voices heard voting in Student Senate elections

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April 14, 2016

Student Senate elections are coming up. UW-River Falls students will have the option of voting online for their choice of Senate president along with other members of Senate including the vice-president between April 27-29.

The race for president will be between incumbent Christopher Morgan and another Senate member, Brady Murphy.

It is important that students know this; these elections have consistently low participation, which ought to change. While it may not seem important enough, the president of Student Senate, along with all members of the organization, has a major role in what happens on this university and affects the lives of students.

Senate has done plenty of good work this past year, notably working heavily on the “It’s on Us” campaign as part of its focus of sexual assault and mental health awareness, sustainability and inclusivity. As the head of this push, Christopher Morgan has made for an exceptional president and certainly proven himself as capable of the position. Brady Murphy is close to completing his second year as a member of Senate but remains untested in such a demanding position, though that in no way makes the choice a sure thing.

We felt it important to write this editorial because college-aged men and women have historically been the lowest demographic in terms of voting turnout – according to the U.S. Census Bureau, rates of voting among those aged 18-24 were 38 percent in the 2012 elections. This is compared to 50, 63 and 70 percent turnout among those aged 25-44, 45-64 and 65+ respectively. Even this low rate would be optimistic in this election. During 2014’s election, there were a total of 728 votes out of a total of 5603 total enrolled students – that is a voting rate of 13 percent.

One thing that could explain the poor turnout is a lack of information or awareness. That is why it is so important to seek out information actively instead of waiting until it is delivered to oneself. That being said, though, Student Senate should absolutely be doing everything they can to spread the word on the upcoming elections and making sure people understand the positions of those in the running, particularly the prospective presidents and vice-presidents.

With all this in mind, we hope that this year will see a good turnout of informed students voting who are aware of what the candidates stand for. Another important thing: in the 2014 election, Anthony Sumnicht won the position of president with only 50.42 percent of the vote – a margin of just six votes – so do not think for an instant that your individual vote does not count.