Student Senate election gets record number of voters

By Claire Fodell | 3/30/14 6:47pm


GVL / Archive
President Ricardo L. Benavidez

by Laine Girard / Grand Valley Lanthorn

This year, Grand Valley State University’s Student Senate made extra efforts to get more students involved in elections, and their work paid off. Last year, there were only 38 candidates for the 44 available spots in the election. This year there were 60 students on the ballot for the 44 seats.

There was also an increase from 1,300 to 3,000 in the number of students who voted for the candidates. Executive Vice President Stephanie Ewart said the high number of candidates and voters lead to a candidate needing at least 200 votes to get a seat on the senate.

To increase the number of voters, Ewart said that instead of using traditional voting booths, senators walked around with iPads to make the process easier.

“This actually attracted more students because it was easy and we came up to them,” Ewart said. “With tabling, students are often resistant to come up and visit the tables, so we found this to be more effective and generate more votes.”

The newly elected senators will join the current senators at the meeting on Thursday.

“The outgoing senators will say their goodbyes, and then the incoming senators elect will take the table for the first time,” Ewart said.

At Thursday’s meeting, nominations for all nine cabinet positions will also be done by the new senators. Senators nominated will have a week to prepare a statement for the body that will be presented at the next meeting when the positions will be discussed and voted on.

Ewart said she advises the 16 students who don’t receive spots on senate to still be involved in the organization.

“We are so thankful to have such a competitive election year, and we know some great candidates may not get on, so we will be encouraging them to re-apply in the fall or wait for seats to open up during the summer,” Ewart said.

She added that students can stay connected to senate by joining the Laker Traditions team or sitting on the senate’s finance appropriations.

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