EDITORIAL: Lack of competition for SGA presidential ticket discourages students from voting

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EDITORIAL: Lack of competition for SGA presidential ticket discourages students from voting

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When the voting is finalized in the Student Body Presidential election, only one outcome is possible no matter how many votes were cast. DeJon Milbourne, current student body president, will be re-elected because he is running unopposed.

That is not Milbourne’s fault. In fact, he should be commended for choosing to serve the student body for another year.

Despite the Student Government Association Senate opening the declaration period for four extra days, no one declared to run against Milbourne.

The declaration period re-opened on March 12 after only 13 people declared to run for Senate during the original period. The new period saw seven more senators declare, but only four more were added to the ticket. There are 68 Senate seats on SGA.

What is curious is why no other candidates are running for SGA president and so few are running for SGA Senate.

Last year, two candidates ran for student body president, and the voting turnout was record breaking. No one knew who would win and the candidates were separated by less than 7 percentage points.

The job of student body president is an important and difficult one. It comes with many meetings and the responsibility of running an organization. They serve as a member of the App State Board of Trustees and represent students in dealings with the faculty, staff and administration.

Whoever fills this position must wholly represent the students of App State. The position should not just be given to whoever runs by default.

In all elections, an important democratic element is the rise of quality candidates to run for election and challenge incumbents. With no competition, voters do not have a choice for president. They can either abstain or vote for Milbourne.

What changed between this year and last year to only have one ticket?

The Appalachian commends Milbourne for running again, but with no competition and a lack of choices in the Senate election, students are discouraged from voting and actively participating in a democratic system at the university.