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SGA election results show loss of student interest

By Jessica Lewis, News Editor

"Ultimately because nobody cares at Hofstra, people just look out for themselves and have their own personal agenda," said defeated vice presidential candidate Anil Beria on the voter turnout from the most recent Student Government Association (SGA) election. About 10% of the entire student body participated in the election for president and vice-president, totaling 803 votes.

In the 2009-2010 election held last spring for president and vice-president, 2,203 students participated. Former SGA president Sean Hutchinson said of this election, "I think it is an evident sign that students are not being engaged." Hutchinson also explained that the voting system this year might have also played a large role in the decline of voters. The voting portal this year was not located on Blackboard, but on the student tab of the initial portal page.

Dating back further to the 2008-2009 election, a total of 1,333 students voted in a close election of 697 for Peter DiSilvio and Carlos Cruz and 636 for Brent Weitzberg and Kate Laegnetti.

"Though a total this low (757) is not unheard of, I think it is sad that at a school with such a large and diverse involved student body that only 700 students saw fit to vote," DiSilvio said.

Luke Miedreich, this year's winning vice presidential candidate agreed that the placing of the voting tab was probably an issue for students. "I think the voter turnout this year had to do with the location of the voting on the portal and some technical errors that came along with it," Miedreich said.

Technical errors also contributed to the low numbers. Seniors were not able to vote for an extended period of time causing confusion and, for some students, only certain sections would show up on the ballot and students could not vote twice on the same computer.
Chair of the Elections Commission, Arianne Romeo, expressed that she thought "campaigning and elections went extremely well…I truly was so honored to work with them [the candidates], they had so much grace, civility, and respect for each other and for the commission…" Romeo stated that for next year's election, the commission will work more on advertising the voting process.

Junior commuting student Joe Soares said that he "did not even know about it." Senior Ashley Auger also said, "I had no clue about it…I know nothing about SGA."
Defeated presidential candidate Francesco Vivacqua blames the lack of student knowledge about SGA. "I believe that turnout was so low because people have no idea about what SGA does," Vivacqua said, "Nobody is going to vote unless they know how SGA directly affects him/her. This is a problem because SGA really needs to strive to make itself known as a viable force on campus."

Not only did this election affect the presidential and vice-presidential candidate, but also the senators. Senator for three years, Eddie Sitt, junior, was disappointed with the turnout. "I believe the voter turnout was a disgrace to SGA. Last year the average per senator vote was about 500, this year a shocking 125." Sitt also agrees that with this year's election and moving the voter portal might have been a reason for the poor turnout.

For some students, voting was on their list of things to do. "As a president of a club, I wanted to vote to help out my club as best as possible," said sophomore Amy Allgor.

Miedreich thinks voting in these elections are a serious matter and that some students have yet to understand that. "I think sometimes people forget how serious SGA elections are and that they truly affect every single student," Miedreich said.

Victoria Vullo embraces Luke Meidreich as election results are announced. (Sean M. Gates/The Chronicle)

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