SGA elections to be online for first time

For the first time in A&T history, the Student Government Association elections for the 2011-12 academic year will be held online March 23.

In previous years, elections have always been held in the union in voting booths made available to the student body.  The elections committee’s decision to switch to online voting has become somewhat controversial and has raised questions throughout campus.  

Some question whether the switch will cause fewer students to participate in voting.  

While some wonder if the online system is reliable and will serve as an accurate method for counting all of the votes casted.        

“I don’t think the new online voting process will increase voting participation, which is why it was implemented in the first place.  There has not been a lot of publicity about taking the elections online and people won’t know what to do,” said Raymond Beamon, a senior history education major and Vice President of Internal Affairs.  

Candidates will still be able to campaign in the back of the union, as has been the tradition.  Therefore, students will still have the chance to ask questions and form their own opinion on who is the best candidate for them.   

“We expect a large increase in student participation because this online process is so much more convenient.  The system is extremely secure and a student banner number will be required to log in,” said Jazmyne Cosby, elections committee chairperson and a senior visual arts and design major.  “This is a trial run; its success this year will determine whether or not we continue with the online voting.”

Voters will have the opportunity to speak with candidates and hear their platforms and ideas.  Voters can then choose to either go into the union and vote on laptops, provided by the university, or they can vote on their own personal computer at their own convenience.

This year students will only be able to vote for candidates of their classification based on their completed credit hours.  In the past, students could simply claim the classification of their choice regardless of their number of credits.        

“I am very excited about the online voting movement. It is a great way to reach the students,” said Wayne Kimball Jr., SGA President and senior civil and biological engineering major.  “I believe student voting participation will increase because students who would not normally vote because they do not want to walk to the union can now vote from their own laptops in their room.”

Many UNC system schools have been using this process for years now, including UNC Chapel Hill and UNC Greensboro.   The online system has proven to be effective thus far these institutions.

“I think many students may be apprehensive about online voting since it’s nontraditional for A&T.  But the fact is that most students will not take the time to vote in the union so voting from your own personal computer is less hassle,” said Alexis Sutton, a candidate for Miss A&T State University and a junior marketing major.  

“This is a positive step in the right direction.” 

  • Jessica Grissom