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Press Clipping: Loyola University New Orleans SGA saw less voter turnout this year than previous years
This article from The Maroon online newspaper at Loyola University New Orleans mentions the American Student Government Association.

SGA saw less voter turnout this year than previous years

Emily Branan
May 5, 2016

In this year’s Student Government Association election, 273 students voted, down from the 1,067 students that voted in the 2015 election.

Bud Sheppard, outgoing chief justice, said he attributes this decrease to the fact that the elections were all unopposed.

Despite this, he is happy with how the election went.

“While the voter turnout was lower than the past two competitive elections, the results were even more robust. We now have a unified president/vice president and fourteen senators. Compare that to last year when we only elected five total representatives,” Sheppard said.

Sheppard said 476 students voted in the 2014 election, during which he was elected. The 2013 elections were not held on Orgsync, so there is not an exact number, but Sheppard said around 300 students voted.

He said that Butch Oxendine, the executive director of the American Student Government Association, told him that the 2014 election turnout was sufficient for a school the size of Loyola.

Sheppard said he believes the election turnout for the 2015 election was so high because of the amount of competition in the election. Two members of his executive staff ran for president that year.

Also on the ballot this year were three amendments, which all passed. Sheppard said if the amendments are seen as the only competitive part of the election, this turnout was higher than the SGA constitution ratification in fall 2014, which only had 226 votes.

Elisa Diaz, incoming SGA president, said she believes the turnout was low because students were not even aware of the election.

“I had friends and peers who didn’t even realize I won because the announcement was so unattended and under-advertised,” Diaz said.

Diaz said she heard from students who did not understand the amendments, and believes this problem could be solved if sample ballots were given out before the election.

“Most of the students mentioned to me that they just voted on the amendments because they had to get through the ballot, which is not an ideal election,” Diaz said.

SGA election turnout

Spring 2016 - 273 votes

Spring 2015 - 1,067 votes

Spring 2014 - 476 votes

Spring 2013 - About 300 votes (not on Orgsync)

Amendments 2016
- Eliminate comissioner of elections: passed, 169 to 104
- Remove college presidents: passed, 170 to 103
- Turn first-year council into an executive standing committee: passed, 240 to 33

Comment left by Butch Oxendine on May 6, 2016 8:57 a.m. in comments section of The Maroon online newspaper:
Average voter turnout for private institutions nationwide is between 15 and 20%. So 476 is about 10%. ASGA’s research suggests 30% is the critical number to prove to both students and administrators that SGA is actually representing more than a handful of students and special interest groups. 476 voters at a school with 4,982 students is not “sufficient.”
American Student Government Association  

The American Student Government Association will provide all Student Government leaders and advisors nationwide with networking, research, and information resources and will teach them how to become more effective, ethical, and influential leaders on their campuses. ASGA also will promote the advancement of SGs, conduct research as the nation’s only “SG Think Tank,” and advocate the importance of having a vibrant, autonomous Student Government organization at every institution in America.

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