King wins presidency, voter turn-out up

681 students voted in this year’s Student Government elections, which were held on March 28-29. The election showed a growth of more than 200 voters over last year’s election, in which 459 voters turned out.

The winners were Lawrence King for president, Michael Perez for vice president, Dana Lezama for treasurer, and April Kelly for secretary. King, Perez, and Lezama were all on the M.O.T.I.V.A.T.E. ticket, while Kelly was on the “Make It Happen” ticket.

“This year’s election shows that the student body was happy with the progress that the student government made,” King said. “Those who voted voiced their support for continued progress in the coming year.”

Darren Morton, associate dean of students for Student Life and an advisor for SGI, also thought that the elections were overall a positive sign.

“I think we’re progressing in the right direction,” he said. “It was the first year that we’ve done online elections, and it was the first year in a long time that we’ve had a fully contested election. I think the energy and the spirit around student involvement is improving.”

He added, though, that there are still improvements to be made.

“Of course we’re not where I would like us to be, but I’m sure that as years go on students will continue to be more involved.”
Candidates and faculty alike were happy with the number of voters, but they still felt that not enough students participated in the election.

“I’m pleased that voter turnout increased, but it was lower than it should be,” King said. “I believe that with the new online voting, voter turnout will continue to increase.”

Morton agreed.

“I’m encouraged by the increase [in the number of voters],” he said. “It’s not where I would’ve hoped it would’ve been. I would have hoped that we would’ve had at least 1000 voters.”

Although there were rumors of controversy regarding the results of the election, results are not being contested. “There were questions over student eligibility and deadlines, as it pertains to making sure that everybody met the appropriate deadlines, as well as the testing,” Morton said. “We did have to allow people to be retested. But I think that we resolved [those questions] and made sure that everybody was clear.”

While no changes will necessarily be made to campaigning guidelines of future Student Government elections, Morton did say that, “we do need to better focus on the actual campaign rules, what you are eligible to do and what you’re not eligible to do, as far as campaigning.

“Even to the point of how much we’re actually allowing students to spend on campaigning and things of that sort to make sure we create an even playing field in the campaigning and the election process,” he added.

King said that in the coming year, SGI will take steps to further improve its work with the St. John’s student body.

“The newly elected e-board feels we can make a lot more progress with the merit-based system, and implementing policies to add accountability,” he said.