Candidates fight low voter turnout

By Jeremy Thompson, Staff Writer

Battling traditionally low voter turnout, candidates for ASUU elections are working on new ways to get students involved in elections.

“We have tried to make our platform ideas more widely known,” said Erica Andersen, senior class president candidate for the GO Party. “We are hoping that all of our walking and talking and really helping people understand our platforms will help people want to vote.”

Last year, just more than 2,900 of the 28,000 students on campus cast votes in Associated Students of the University of Utah elections. The year before, out of a possible 28,500 students, 4,300 voted in the primary elections and just more than 3,800 students voted in the general election.

With such a low percentage of voters in the past, parties are trying to reach students in non-traditional ways.

Katie Kormanik, vice presidential candidate for the Synergy Party, said the group has tried to make announcements in and out of classrooms as part of their publicity push.

“Not everyone comes past the plaza by the library,” Kormanik said. “We have tried to get into classrooms and other avenues that people do not traditionally use to encourage people to vote. We have been talking about elections at places like dance recitals and other public forums. Hopefully we can get as many people out to vote as possible.”

Daniel MacDonald, a junior in social work, said because the Synergy Party came to his class, he would be more likely to participate in elections.

“I think I will probably vote,” MacDonald said. “Coming and actually explaining a platform to a class is much more effective than just throwing food at me and asking for my vote.”

The Revolution Party has attached information about elections to coupons for local vendors.

“We are hoping that by attaching info to coupons, students will look at our platforms more closely,” said Tayler Clough, the party’s presidential candidate. “We are trying to reach people that we would not normally be able to talk to.”

But not all students feel that voting is important.

“I am not going to vote. I haven’t since I got on this campus and I won’t now,” said Branden Sheffield, a junior in electrical engineering. “School politics are only about candidates looking out for their own gain. They don’t do what is best for the university.”

Some students said participating in the ASUU elections just comes down to who they know.

“I have a few friends that are running,” said Megan Gorringe, a graduate student in mathematical biology. “I have only heard a little bit about the elections, but I will vote for those I know.”

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Thien Sok

Go party candidates speak with students about voting. ASUU elections have had a low turn out in past years.

Thien Sok

A student break-dances at the synergy party booth on library plaza. Candidates have been working to increase turn out for primary elections.