Lariat Letters: StuGov voter turnout was terrible

The Lariat’s Rob Bradfield reported on April 20 that 2,093 students (about 14 percent of the student body) voted for the office of student body president. Not many people ran for other positions, so one of the uncontested positions reportedly was won with even fewer than 500 votes. Senate seats will now have to be filled by application.

This election’s turnout was shameful. Voting is the voice of the students, and student government can’t genuinely know what students want if they don’t vote.

As a current sophomore senator and a junior senator-elect, I feel as if I did not earn my seat. While I am proud of my role at Baylor and I am grateful to those who voted for me, I wish that my seat was worth more to the student electorate. I hope that I will have to fight to represent my peers in future elections.

Student body president races have a special competitiveness, of which the key factor to success is winning the “Greek vote.” Unlike most students, Greeks vote. The monopoly of the Greek system on an election permits a tyranny of the minority.

It is unfortunate that we will never know if the majority of the 15,000 students attending Baylor actually support the candidates who the Greeks endorsed, but we do know that Greek interests will certainly be well served in student government.

Poor turnout also undermines the authority and legitimacy of all three branches of “democratic” student governance. At the end of the day, while Senators and executive branch members may possess fine judgment about what comprises “the student welfare,” the degree to which they can really “advocate for student interests” should be questioned, since the voices they represent are not necessarily an authentic representation of the majority of the student body.

— Joe Casey
Phoenix, Ariz., sophomore
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