Student Association

This year’s SA election breaks all-time record for voter turnout

Allie Curtis winning the presidency wasn’t the only storyline of the 2012 Student Association elections. With 28.9 percent of Syracuse University’s student body voting, the election broke the all-time high for turnout, surpassing last year’s record with 3,920 votes cast.

“It was just a matter of time,” said Jenn Bacolores, chair of the Board of Elections and Membership, who learned SA had unofficially surpassed the record at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Bacolores said she was confident SA would surpass last year’s record of 26.1 percent, or 3,706 votes cast. At 9:40 p.m. Wednesday, SA was within 121 votes of tying that mark, with 3,585 votes in. Polling information became available when online voting started in 2002. Voting through MySlice began Monday and ended at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.

Members of the Board of Elections and Membership, Public Relations Committee and SA attribute this to several factors such as having four presidential candidates, increased physical polling locations on campus and more awareness of SA as a whole.

For Bacolores, it was a combination of the promotion that SA conducted as well as the candidates. She noted that each of the four presidential candidates — PJ Alampi, Allie Curtis, Kyle Coleman and Iggy Nava — all have different majors and are heavily involved on campus, creating a greater potential to reach different groups of students.

Comptroller Stephen DeSalvo did not run unopposed this election, either, with Osarumwense Pat-Osagie in the race as well, she said.

Ivan Rosales, vice chair of the board, noted how this differed from the last two legislative sessions. Former-President Neal Casey ran unopposed and President Dylan Lustig’s only had one opponent, Taylor Carr, he said.

“I think it really shows how much we’ve improved and how much we take the feedback from previous years,” Rosales said.

SA was able to reach students in different colleges at SU by setting up polling locations at academic buildings, said Colin Brown, director of public relations.  He noted that all students do not go to places such as Schine Student Center or dining halls, where the organization heavily focused on before.

But for Chief of Staff Janine Savage and Lustig, the higher turnout can also be attributed to increased awareness of SA and projects its members completed during the 56th session.

Savage said the record being surpassed was not much of a surprise, with community service events such as Impact Week starting the week before voting began. The creation of the Food Advisory Board, and more recently the Department of Public Safety Advisory Board, also helped increase the organization’s presence on campus, she said.

Lustig said he “couldn’t be more pleased” with the fact SA surpassed last year’s voter turnout record. He echoed Savage, saying turnout can partly be attributed to the organization and its work being more well-known on campus, and less student apathy.

Said Lustig: “I’m tremendously proud of all the work my assembly reps have done.”

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