Editorial: Drop in voter turnout disappointing

Another year. Another student body president elected.

Only 733 votes were cast as Michelle Murphy, a sophomore representing the United Party of Students, won.

Compared to the more than 1,000 students voting in 2008, this year’s voting turnout was most likely affected by the weather. Last spring, students could vote in the Library Quad. Ashlei Birch, officer of elections, said this year, the food court was a substitute for the Library Quad.

“We had to know by Friday morning, because the university workers do not work on the weekend, so it is in those places regardless,” Birch said. “The tent (was not) put out because of the weather.”

Another reason was the choice of only two options for president. Ron Jordan, a candidate representing Students for Change, was Murphy’s only opponent.

Last year there were four candidates from different parties. United Party of Students, Students for Change, Students Wanting Action Today and Campus Action Party all had candidates.

During the spring 2007 Student Government elections, 498 students voted. During the Student Government elections in December 2007, 387 students voted.

While it’s a good to see an increase, Student Government needs to make a strong commitment to actively increase student turnout and create more options for students.

The United Party of Students handed out candy in an attempt to connect with the voters, something that hadn’t been done in past elections. The Student United Party went more traditional and handed out fliers, while the Students Wanting Action Today went with the combination of buttons and fliers.

Dominic Capparelli, the student body president candidate from the Campus Action Party and lone person from that party running in the election, stood by the Library Quad and handed out fliers to people walking by.

To the 733 students who voted, thank you. You showed not all Eastern students are apathetic. To the newly elected Student Government representatives, prove to Eastern students that their votes matter.

Let’s see Murphy follow through on her promises.

She wants to increase school spirit through more support for the EIU Band, Pink Panthers, cheerleaders and the Blue Crew. She wants to be an open president with the senate and her constituents. Murphy said she would resolve misunderstandings among the Student Supreme Court, Student Senate and student body president.

“The question of the president appointing court members and letting them do their jobs will be more clear,” Murphy said.

Although Student Government is an advisory board, let’s see some change.

The editorial is the majority opinion of The DEN editorial board. Reach the opinions editor at