Better late than never. After years of infamous Georgetown University Student Association campaign controversy, it seems almost odd that this year’s election went off without a hitch.
With the exception of an alleged Facebook message tangle between Angert-Kluger and Wagner-Hampton supporters, the last two weeks were a relatively clean campaign period. The candidates carried themselves well, and their campaigns focused on issues rather than mudslinging. There was even time for a dark horse to make a late run on election day (Chicken Madness received 23 write-in votes). After last year’s suspension debacle, this year’s election was refreshingly uneventful.
Perhaps the student body was inspired by the four tickets’ tangible enthusiasm for their platforms. Whatever the reason, Tuesday’s election is notable for its record-setting turnout. According to GUSA Parliamentarian Sam Ungar (COL `12), about 44 percent of the student body caught election fever and voted at the online poll. The historic high certainly came at the right time.
The recent club funding reform is only one area where GUSA has expanded its influence over the last year. As such, increased student engagement with GUSA needs to be a long-term trend. Even with the record voter showing, the percentage of the student body that participated is still very much below where it needs to be.
Granted, frustrating GUSA elections in the past likely discouraged student voting. In recent years, GUSA has been known for holding absurdly high numbers of run-offs after the initial election. GUSA can take Tuesday’s turnout as a positive sign, but it ought to develop a strategy to increase participation further. Even though it is a step in the right direction, a sub-50 percent voting rate is inadequate for an election that is meant to represent the voice of the entire student community.
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