Students find online polls convenient, lack of candidates disappointing

Fewer people might show up at the polls, but some UK students said more voters overall will have their say in this year’s Student Government spring elections.

The polls open at 9 this morning for campus locations and online voting. Today and tomorrow, students will cast votes for the SG presidency, 37 Senate seats and a ballot referendum about a $2 student fee to distribute national newspapers on campus.

This is the first year online voting has been used in spring elections, and Casey Wheeless, a journalism freshman, said she expects an increase in voter turnout.

“It will definitely help since you won’t have to walk over to campus,” Wheeless said. “You can just vote in your dorm or wherever you are.”

Another advantage to online voting is avoiding candidates who campaign on campus, said Josh Church, an electrical engineering senior. More students might vote if they feel less pressured, Church said.

“I know personally I was always annoyed by the people in White Hall (Classroom Building) coming up to you and saying, ‘Vote for me,’ ” Church said. “I think there will be less heckling at the polls, and that will get more people to vote.”

However students vote this year, many were disappointed at the dearth of candidates on the ballot. Tyler Montell is the only candidate for SG president this year. Taylor Naiser, an undecided freshman, said only having one presidential candidate is not fair to students.

“It’s kind of cheating the student body,” Naiser said. “We need more selection, or it’s not a real election.”

Some students said without an opponent, Montell and his running mate, Grant Mills, did not have to work as hard on their campaign. Amanda Davis, a psychology junior, said competition would have led to an exchange of ideas and been more beneficial to campus.

“You need competition so you can have more ideas,” Davis said. “Like if your opponent has a different idea, you might take that and incorporate it into your plans if you win.”

Davis said Montell and Mills should not act like they have already won, and people should consider the possibility of write-in candidates if they want another option.

“What (Montell and Mills) said (in the Kernel) about already having a checklist of things to do — it’s almost arrogant,” Davis said. “They are acting like they have already won, and there are write-ins.”

Of students who said they intended to vote, most researched candidates using Facebook, the SG Web site ( or through Greek organizations. Wheeless said she learned about candidates through her sorority.

“There were a lot of Facebook groups I saw, and some candidates came around to the sorority houses,” Wheeless said.

With only one presidential candidate, some student said it is not even worth the time to vote. Matt Hatfield, a mechanical engineering senior, said this year’s election shows student apathy when it comes to SG.

“It really shows the attitude of the student body toward Student Government,” Hatfield said. “It’s almost a joke.”