The University of Miami’s Student Government elections are right around the corner, but election officials are having a hard time getting students to register for the various available positions.
Junior Luis Goberna, elections commission chairman, said since last year, they’ve seen a drop in interest. In 2017, the university only saw one ticket run for executive seats against an independent filer – who later dropped – running for president.
Aaron King, then a sophomore, ran independently with no treasurer or vice presidential running mates against current Student Government President Adrian Nuñez and his running mates, Vice President Coleman Reardon and Treasurer Emily Bajalia. King withdrew from the race after contracting pneumonia, since he “would not be healthy by election day,” he said.
The deadline to register to run for a position in Student Government is 5 p.m. Jan. 30. However, some seats still remain uncontested or with vacant registrations. Only one ticket has registered to run for the executive seats, which include president, vice president and treasurer.
On the senate side, there are a total of eight seats up for election. The Business School, School of Communications and Transfer seats have at least one person running for each. However, only two people have signed up for the three available Commuter Senator seats and only one person has registered to run for the two open College of Arts and Sciences seats.
Goberna said Student Government is advertising the election registration dates on more than 10 platforms, including the Student Government Facebook page, Ibis News and TV screens in the campus dining halls, Housing and Residential Life and the Shalala Student Center.
“It’s not so much that students don’t know,” Goberna said. “It’s more the lack of interest, unfortunately … It’s not only something university Student Government struggles with, it happens in real-world government. You see that youth turnout rates in elections, not even midterms, but in presidential ones they turn out to be real low.”
Goberna spent last week tabling in the University Center Breezeway, in an attempt to attract eligible students to register for open positions, but in the end, he just ended up giving away a lot of free pizza.
“Students would stop by and they would talk, but at the end of the day, they wouldn’t follow up,” he said.
As time is ticking to register, Goberna said he encourages students to run for seats with and without someone on the ballot.
“That shouldn’t discourage you from running,” Goberna said. “If you want to make a difference, go for it. Just see this as another challenge to overcome.”
Students can file to run at sg.miami.edu/vote.
Elections will be held Feb. 12-14. Results will be announced at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15.
Students with questions about the upcoming Student Government elections can contact Goberna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Correction, Jan. 31 2018: This article previously incorrectly stated the deadline to register to run for a position was 5 p.m. Jan. 31, 2018. The story has been updated to reflect the correct deadline, 5 p.m. Jan. 30, 2018.