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TSG turnout reaches high

The record turnout could have been influenced by adding Parliament to the ballot.

In a race that was decided by only a few dozen votes, turnout for Temple Student Government’s Executive Branch election reached a record high since data started being collected in 2004.

Voter turnout for the executive election was 14.7 percent, a 2 percent increase from last year’s turnout of 12.7 percent.

Activate TU won by 56 votes and received 2,618 votes. Connecting TU received 2,562 votes.

“I’m exceptionally happy with the way things turned out, but there’s always more goals to set,” said Noah Goff, TSG’s elections commissioner.

Goff said 35,122 students were eligible to vote in the executive election. Because the number was calculated by computer services and part of the ballot included voting for representative seats on Parliament, there isn’t one specific group of students that can vote for the Executive Branch. In the past, it was only undergraduate students

TSG set up voting tables in the Student Center on April 4 and 5 in an effort to encourage voter turnout, where students could access the online ballot.

“[People] came and went depending on what time it was, how many people were trying to get lunch at the time,” Goff said. “Just having the physical reminder, even if you didn’t go to vote, there was still a good way to keep people’s memories fresh.”

Goff said he believes holding the Parliament and Executive Branch elections at the same time also boosted turnout. For the current TSG, students voted for the Executive Branch last April and for Parliament in January.

“I think it would be a mistake to try to run the elections separate, because then people try to vote twice instead of once,” Goff said. “I thought the voting process was very smooth this time as opposed to in the fall.”

“One of the people running messaged me and told me to vote,” said Tory Dubendorf, a freshman journalism major.

Aside from posts on Facebook, Dubendorf said she didn’t see anything that informed her about the campaigns and their platforms.

Two freshman representative seats and the Residents Hall Association representative seat  for Parliament will be filled in Fall 2017 after the class of 2021 arrives. The Greek Life seat will be filled by the Temple University Greek Association, at a yet-to-be-determined date.

Parliament will hold open elections for the three unfilled seats for the College of Engineering, Boyer College of Music and Dance and the School of Theater, Film and Media Arts at the beginning of Fall 2017.

No students from Boyer ran for the college’s representative seat in January, and it was never filled.

The average number of votes cast for a seat in Parliament was 440. The five at-large seats — which any student can vote for — had the highest turnout at 1,844 votes for a 5.26 percent turnout.

An announcement about the winner of the Disability Resource Services seat is “pending,” according to a statement TSG posted on Twitter.

Goff cited a possible issue with the “interaction with the computer system” as the reason for the DRS seat’s pending status.

“We want to hold off on that just briefly, like a couple days … to figure out a solution to a problem that may or may not exist,” he said. “We just want to make sure that everything is good before we announce a [winner].”

Amanda Lien can be reached at amanda.lien@temple.edu or on Twitter @amandajlien.

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