By Ben Hamilton, Staff Writer
The election season for the Student Government Association began March 12, with petition forms being the beginning of an almost entirely digital election process that is expected to increase voter turnout.
Each candidate needs 25 signatures to be admitted further into the election process for SGA class officer positions. Once the petitions are turned in, the election becomes a digital event.
The information about each candidate and the ballot will be available online through the Union Portal. This is the first time SGA class officers will be voted into office by an online ballot.
“Last year’s elections only had about 400 votes, which is a relatively small number compared to the size of Union’s student body,” said James Barbee, SGA secretary general, who oversees elections each semester. “We hope to see significantly more votes this semester because of how convenient it will be to vote from your own computer.”
Those who log on to vote will find a short bio about each candidate, which is part of each application submission, on the online ballots.
“We have seen problems in the past where students don’t know any of the candidates, so they don’t vote,” Barbee said. “We want everyone to be able to have at least a little information on all the candidates. These bios are a part of each application submission.”
Many of the current officers are returning to the elections for next fall.
Wil Story, junior class vice president, is running for the same position for the senior class.
“Before joining SGA, I didn’t really know how things worked behind the scenes,” Story said. “It has been an eye-opening experience. If I had any expectations at the beginning, they have been greatly exceeded. I’m excited to be running for an office in SGA again.”
Michael Adkisson, a member of the freshman council, is one of several students campaigning in upcoming weeks for officer positions in the fall.
“I enjoy being a part of senate by representing the freshman class, and I think I can take that a step further with the position of sophomore class president,” Adkisson said.
Campaigning for each candidate begins on April 8, and the elections take place April 12-15.