Ballot change affects senators

Lauren Gorla

Student Government Association voted earlier this semester to change the form of ballots for future elections to not include the name of the ticket a college senator is running on, in order to increase fairness across the board.

“Before, it had been voted that (executive) tickets could include three members of each college for senate.  This semester, it was voted that senators could not be part of that ticket,” Carrie Cristancho, SGA executive assistant, said.

The change came from a speech given at an SGA meeting by COSM senator Jacob Jay about the unfairness of senators running on a ticket.

Previously, students would see a ticket name next to a senators’ name when voting on WINGS.  The new change now takes away the ticket name and leaves only the senator name, Cristancho said.

“I feel that it will create more competition in senate positions because so many people run but now no one can be affiliated,” Dominique Quarles, SGA President, said.

Robert Roberts, 2012 graduate of Georgia Southern University and former SGA member, ran against Alton Standifer for the executive president position in spring 2011.  This election was GSU’s last contested election, which was two years ago.

Roberts said he was surprised when he logged online to vote and discovered that Standifer’s ticket included other senators not running for executive positions.

Roberts lost the election and contested the results after learning that he had the possibility of having a ticket.

“I was against (tickets) from day one because I feel like running on a ticket is running based on the other person’s merits.  I feel like people would just identify who has a better chance to win and run on that ticket rather than stand on your ideals and run on what you believe in,” Roberts said.

Quarles, who was running for executive vice president of finance on Standifer’s ticket, felt that the use of tickets was a campaigning strategy.

“I feel like the usage of a ticket name, anyone could’ve done it.  (Roberts) made the situation larger than it needed to be because tickets were within the guidelines but not exactly spelled out.  It’s not the job of the elections committee to tell you everything you can and can’t do,” Quarles said.

By having senators run on a ticket with executives, the average student will see one candidate as having lots of support and therefore be a better leader, Roberts said.

Roberts also commented on the new changes to the ballot system this year and praised the change.

Roberts said, “I love that change. I think it’s the best way to go because honestly people aren’t going to pay attention to SGA to know who or what the senators stand for but it’s the people who have the biggest network that are going to be elected.  I think that’s a good change and it’s what I was pushing for when I initially lost my election.”