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SGA election yields low numbers

Jacob Bush knew there was an election on campus, but beyond that he was mostly in the dark.

“I’d seen the posters and the JT spoof, but it was really wasn’t clear where or how we were supposed to vote,” he said.

Others, like Samuel Dew, did not even know what was happening until voting had passed.

“I literally heard someone mention it right after it happened,” Dew said.

Late last month, Student Government Association held its annual presidential election, in which Jeanette Morelan and Skyler Schmanski ran unopposed for president and vice president respectively.

However, despite an intense campaign on Facebook, including a parody of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie,” post-election numbers indicate less than 7 percent of Belmont students voted.

Of that number, Morelan and Schmanski only won by a slim majority of 50.79 percent.

A total of 456 students voted in the election, with 224 of those votes going to Morelan and Schmanski. The second highest majority went to Danny Zydel, who organized a word-of-mouth, write-in campaign for the election. He nearly earned enough votes to force a run-off, or a secondary vote with only the Morelan-Schmanski ticket and himself on the ballot.

Zydel admitted his campaign was not entirely serious at first, but after hearing positive feedback from his friends, he decided to make the write-in campaign a serious alternative to Morelan’s campaign.

“After a point, I was interested to see what could be accomplished without social media and formal advertising,” Zydel said in an email statement to the Vision.

Only 125 of Zydel’s write-ins were counted. The rest lacked a vice-presidential candidate or had Zydel running with Schmanski and were disqualified as valid votes.

One reason so many students were not motivated to vote was simply because there was only one team campaigning, Zydel said.

“As far as the low turnout, many students were aware of the election this year as a result of the propagation of the write-in campaign and Jen/Skyler’s advertisement, but that did not guarantee that everyone would remember to vote on Bruin Link,” Zydel said in his statement. “Unfortunately, student interest will only go as far as they believe their voice to be heard.”

Bush echoed this sentiment, saying it was the presence of just one ticket that stopped him from voting.

“I’ve met Skyler so I think they’ll do a good job. I just felt unmotivated to vote because there was only one group campaigning,” he said.

Many students, like a participate in Zydel’s write-in campaign that wished to remain anonymous, did not vote because they felt Morelan and Schmanski would win regardless of election turnout.

He said that he thought Morelan and Schmanski’s campaign seemed silly and that Zydel seemed like the more responsible candidate.

“I was unimpressed by the approach taken by Jen and Skyler. There seemed to be little discussion of actual issues,” he said.

Both Morelan and Schmanski did not respond to multiple efforts made by the Vision for comment on the election turnout.

Kirk Bado contributed to this report.

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