The polls for the election of the Student Empowerment Association (SEA) and the Club Council opened on Thursday, September 4. The opening was announced in a campus wide email sent out the same day. Voting closed two days later on September 6.
As the first elections of the school year, the elections mark the first step of the transition into the new student government. The new government’s constitution was just ratified in the spring. The second step will be the election of an entirely new senate, which will take place in mid-November.
This year, a new system of voting called ‘instant runoff voting’ was used. Outlined in Section 1, Article 3 of the Goucher Student Government’s Constitution. The process is designed to stream live voting. Unlike the majority voting process in which a person can only vote for one candidate, instant runoff voting allows the voter to rank the candidates in the order of their preference. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the process repeats until there is a winner.
For the first time, voters were able to see a picture and a short description of the candidates on the voting website, which enabled them to vote without being misinformed about the candidates or their policies.
According to the Elections Commissioner Katrina Kniss, this system is “more democratic and discouraged extremes.” She felt that it was also more inclusive and it makes sure that the opinions of the students are heard on a broad spectrum.
The turnout of the election was 18.39%, which means that about a fifth of Goucher students voted. Kniss explained that this low turnout rate was due to it being the first election of the school year. However, she is confident there will be a better turnout in the November senate elections.
During a joint meeting between members of the SEA and the Club Council, many ideas for events were thrown around. Suggestions included an official Goucher snapchat, a twelve hour art festival, a consolidated calendar, and a staff appreciation day.
Billy Daly, the Officer of Community Building for the Class of 2016, feels that people are asking questions that were not being asked before. He is confident about the new direction the community is headed into.