Applications for the Temple Student Government elections opened last week, with campaigning set to begin in the middle of March. Noah Goff, TSG’s elections commissioner, and TSG’s elections committee are working to increase voter turnout for this year’s election.
“We’re working hard to get as many applicants as possible and then, beyond that, working with members of Parliament to really try and get out the vote that way,” Goff said. “It helps that we have a 30-odd person body to help promote and get out the vote, as well as work with candidates to make sure their voices get heard.”
The election committee’s main responsibility is to work with Parliament members to ensure that questions about the Elections Code are handled in a timely manner, Goff said.
The committee will provide counsel on the interpretation of the Elections Code, as well as any potential infractions, he added.
“The only people who applied [for the elections committee] were members of Parliament, but we have great, qualified people from there who want to help shape the next wave of applicants and make sure we have the best selection possible,” Goff said.
In an effort to encourage students to vote, there will be voting booths in the Student Center atrium on April 4 and 5. Members of the committee will be present to answer voters’ questions, Goff said.
“We are working to figure out exactly what electronic devices we’ll be voting on, but we’ve got it all set so we’ll have those physical locations for voting,” Goff said. “We’re hoping it’ll be a good reminder, especially for people who know the elections are going on but don’t necessarily know how to vote. This will give them the opportunity.”
According to the Elections Code, any Temple student is eligible to vote in the Executive Election, but voter eligibility for Parliament is more limited. All students are eligible to rank their top five picks, in order, for the at-large seats. All students are also eligible to vote for the LGBTQ+, multicultural, commuter and transfer representatives. Students from each undergraduate school and college are eligible to vote for their school’s representative.
Prior to the voting days, TSG will host two debates, when the candidates for executive positions will accept student questions. There will also be an additional “Meet the Candidates” day where Parliament candidates can meet with their constituents, Goff added.
Last year’s TSG election turnout had a 12.72 percent voter turnout. That election, which did not include voting for Parliament candidates, fell short of former Elections Commissioner Gaelen McCartney’s goal of 25 to 30 percent turnout. Parliament’s elections, which took place in Fall 2016, had about 3 percent voter turnout.
“I definitely think there will be a significant increase [in voter turnout] compared to the fall election,” Goff said. “The reason for that being, first of all, it’s a longer election period. We will have the polling booths, we have our full normal elections with our full executive team working very hard as well as the entire field of Parliament candidates trying to get their message out there and get voters to vote for them.”
Amanda Lien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @amandajlien.