With student fees, SG Senate at stake, it’s important to vote

With a lone candidate in the race, it’s hard to motivate the student body to vote in the Student Government presidential election. However, students must realize that the president’s position is not all that’s at stake during this year’s elections.

The presidential race often takes the spotlight during the annual spring elections, sometimes eclipsing the 37 Senate seats up for grabs; this year is clearly a different case. While the next SG president is all but decided, many of the Senate races remain competitive. This is especially true in the Senate at-large races, in which 26 candidates are running for 15 positions.

Though the senators wield less power than the president, they still have influence in SG. They play the role of sponsors for many campus activities and must make tough decisions about how to spend students’ money.

Students need to learn what they can about the senatorial candidates in order to make educated choices on who will best represent the interests of the student body and make proper decisions on how to use SG’s limited funding.

In the past, the senatorial races were little more than popularity contests won on name recognition alone. But a glut of voter’s guides this year has made it possible for students to make informed decisions. As noted in a campuswide e-mail yesterday, a guide sponsored by SG and Kentuckians for the Commonwealth is available online (www.uksgaelection.org). And the Kernel published a separate guide in yesterday’s paper; it’s also available on our Web site (www.

The senatorial races aren’t the only competitive element of the election. There is also a referendum that will ask students if they want to use $2 of student fee per person each year to fund the Collegiate Readership Program, which provides USA Today and The New York Times on campus for free. This decision directly affects how students’ money is spent, so students must weigh the cost and benefits of the program and voice their opinions to SG.

With the recent change in voting methods, students who see lack of time and other physical inconveniences as reasons to not vote in SG elections will have to find different excuses.

For the first time, students can cast their votes online from any computer connected to the Internet. Although a few on-campus polling places will be open today and tomorrow, students can cast a ballot from anywhere, on or off campus. Election officials will send a campuswide e-mail with the link to the voting site.

Despite the lackluster presidential race, students should brush away their general apathy toward SG and participate in the elections. As cliché as it sounds, your votes do make a difference.