The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday October 25th

Few candidates for Student Congress election

Low competition may affect turnout

The annual Student Congress election traditionally draws low voter turnout and few candidates.

But Student Congress members said that won’t be a matter of concern during Tuesday’s special election.

Election candidates

District Two -Middle Campus
Annalise Farris

District Three -South Campus
Jacob Morse
Jonathan Stupak
Tyler Keith Lee Tew
Willem Wyndham

District Four -Granville Towers
Will Lindsey

District Six -Off-Campus
Cam Hill
Leah Josephson
John Edward Mace
Daniel Jared Nobles

Former Board of Elections Chairman Pete Gillooly said he thinks low voter turnout for Student Congress elections is natural — and acceptable — due to the nature of the race.

“It really wouldn’t make sense for a candidate to stand outside in the Pit to advertise when not all those people could vote for them anyway,” he said.

The online election will be held to fill seven vacant seats distributed across districts 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8.

Only one candidate is running for each seat in districts 2, for middle campus, and 4, for Granville Towers.

But the declared candidates still could lose if they don’t follow election guidelines, or if they are defeated by a write-in candidate.

District 8, which comprises graduate students in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Education, has two vacant seats — but no candidates on the ballot.

“The majority of graduate students we currently have in Congress won as write-in candidates,” said Student Congress Speaker Deanna Santoro. “It’s just how graduate students do their elections.”

Student Congress Speaker Pro Tempore Alex Mills, who currently serves in one of the five District 8 seats, said he was elected as a write-in candidate two years ago with a mere seven votes.

Santoro said that the number of people running for each seat is fairly typical, but that voter turnout is more difficult to predict and varies from election to election.

With the school year just beginning and Board of Elections members just recently confirmed by Student Congress, Andrew Phillips, the board’s chairman, said the election has not been aggressively publicized.

“In the upcoming Homecoming election, it’s my hope that we’ll be able to spend much more time on voter turnout,” he said.

But in previous years, a special election has not been held so early in the semester, even when it was technically required by the Student Code, Santoro said.

Phillips said voter turnout could go either way.

“Since it’s so close to the beginning of the year, I feel like students are interested, but it’s too early to tell,” he said.

Mills said voter turnout is fueled by the competition level, which increases with more candidates.

“People aren’t going to vote if there’s nothing to vote for,” he said.

Contact the University Editor at udesk@unc.edu.

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