The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Students encouraged to cast votes

Kaitlynn Riely | Friday, February 9, 2007

The four tickets running for student body president and vice president will spend this weekend drumming up support, but for Judicial Council president Liz Kozlow, the goal on Monday is just to get students to place their votes.

Kozlow and her council hope to increase the turnout for this election from last year’s 52 percent.

“Ideally, we would like everyone to vote because it’s very simple to do,” Kozlow said. “I would like to see 60-65 percent [turnout] this year.”

Over the past few years, turnout has hovered around 50 percent.

At Activities Night this fall, Kozlow encouraged people to sign up for her election committee to brainstorm ways to increase student participation in the voting process and to implement these ideas on the day of and leading up to election day.

The committee’s duties include putting up posters throughout dorms to encourage students to vote Monday. They will also man several computer stations the Judicial Council will set up for voting between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday. The Judicial Council has rented computers to set up in the elevator lobby on the first floor of LaFortune and in Mendoza College of Business. It has also rented out half the Macintosh computers in DeBartolo Hall for voting.

“So if you want to vote in-between classes, it will be much easier,” Kozlow said. “You don’t have to go all the way back to your dorm room.”

The election committee members will be at the computer stations giving out incentives – like a donut or a cookie – if students vote, she said.

At the Student Senate meeting Wednesday night, Kozlow informed senators of the plan to increase voter turnout by providing students with easy access to computers.

“This is a new initiative, and we are going to see how it works,” she said.

To vote, students need to log on to their Webmail account and open an e-mail from Judicial Council, which will contain a link to the voting site, Kozlow said. This site will also be accessible from the Judicial Council’s Web site.

Kozlow said it is “important” to raise voting percentages.

“These people that you’re electing have the opportunity to meet with administrators,” she said. “They have the opportunity to talk about concerns with the Board of Trustees, and they are working with a budget that can accommodate a lot of student concerns.”

All students – including seniors, fifth-year seniors and students studying abroad – can vote Monday.

In the 2006 election that resulted in a win for the Shappell-Andrichik ticket, 4,253 students voted.

That number included 1,224 freshmen, 1,201 sophomores, 1,058 juniors, 756 seniors and eight fifth-year seniors.

In 2005, 4,186 students voted. In 2004, 3,496 votes were tallied. The undergraduate population is approximately 8,300.

This year, four tickets are running for student body president and vice president. The results of the primary voting will be announced Monday at 9 p.m. in LaFortune.

The Judicial Council has planned ahead for the possibility of a runoff election and has reserved the computers for that day as well.

“We are hoping to have the same impact,” Kozlow said.

The runoff debate, if it occurs, will take place Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Main Lounge of LaFortune and the run-off election will be held Feb. 15.