Voter turnout drops in USG elections

Voter turnout was down in this year’s Undergraduate Student Government election by 39 percent, according to Associate Director of Election and Recruitment Logan Dallas. Dallas announced during the election results on Tuesday that 3,700 votes were cast in this election, compared to last year’s election, where 6,027 votes were cast.

Dallas mentioned the shortened campaign. The 2015 race lasted three weeks, instead of the two weeks we saw this year. Dallas said it was a reaction to the oversaturation experienced by students in 2015.

“Firstly, we had a shorter campaign as reaction to last year’s Rini vs. Providence Campaign,” Dallas said. “We got a lot of feedback from organizers and people running campaigns that the elections needed restructuring. Students were being bombarded.”

Dallas also mentioned the reduced competition this election year, leading to a lack of motivation for voters.

“This year, people weren’t as fired up.” Dallas said. “Maybe because the candidate tickets are quite similar.”

Student sentiment echoes Dallas’ theories. Carlotta Gartner, a junior majoring in business administration, did not vote in the election. She said the USG election was not a priority to her or her peers.

“I saw it outside, but honestly, I’m not really interested.” Gartner said. “I never really discuss it with other students; it didn’t seem like a big discussion in class or with my friends.”

Matteo Tanaka, a sophomore majoring in computer engineering and computer science, did vote in the election. Yet his interest was fleeting. Tanaka picked the ticket he was exposed to most.

“I chose them because I saw their posters the most,” Tanaka said. “I was aware that [the elections] were coming, but I didn’t know when. I just happened upon them on the way home.”

Tanaka commented on the importance of the election to the average student and the lack of effect it has on the student body.

“No one’s really interested; no one really sees the value,” Tanaka said. “The student body president isn’t an immediate concern. It doesn’t seem to have a direct effect on you personally.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article contained a misspelling. It is “student body president” not “study body president.” The Daily Trojan regrets the error.