Students will vote for their Student Government Association officials and the second round of the Voice Your Choice initiative on the same ballot in spring 2019, SGA officials said.
SGA elections and the first round of Voice Your Choice votes occurred during the same week in fall 2018. After the fall SGA elections, Associate Director of Student and Young Alumni Engagement Jillian Naimo and SGA officials discussed encouraging students to vote on the same ballot to increase voter turnout for the next semester.
“It pairs something students definitely care about, [Voice Your Choice], with something they should care about, [SGA elections]. So it’s a good way to get engagement,” interim SGA Elections Chair Christopher Henderson-West said in an interview.
In fall 2018, Voice Your Choice asked SGA to help raise awareness to students about voting to allocate $100,000 to an area of the college. The student body voted to allocate all of the money to student accessibility. The second round of voting will determine where in student access the money will go.
“We’re talking about students using their voices and voicing their choice, and that applies to SGA elections as well, so why not combine efforts and try and get as many students to come out and vote for things that matter to them,” SGA Executive President Jess Guida said in an interview.
Guida said this might not exist permanently as future SGA executive boards can independently decide whether or not to allow Voice Your Choice to share a ballot with SGA.
Henderson-West hopes this two-in-one ballot increases voter turnout for SGA elections to 9 or 10 percent, compared to the 6 percent of students who voted in the fall 2018 SGA elections. Ballots will open on April 3 and close April 4.