Today at 5:30 on the third floor of Haas, Student Government Association (SGA) is voting on whether or not to move their general election date from November to April, extending sitting members terms and changing the process for future representatives.
By moving the general election, the student body would be electing in the spring the president and 22 candidates to represent them for the following academic year. The current system has representatives elected on the third Monday in November serve a calendar year, according to the SGA election manual on their website, meaning they serve two non-consecutive semesters. By changing the date, current sitting members will extend their term until the next election. President Karlee Mackely ‘19 wants to change the date to mid-April, in hopes of spending less time filling vacant seats and more time helping the student body.
“The goal is to decrease turnover and stimulate a more competitive election process,” said SGA in a Facebook post and student-wide email announcing their vote.
“We found that almost every year we are replacing around half of our members in early September upon the beginning of the academic year. Whether this is attributed to members graduating, deciding to go abroad after being elected or just losing interest in between years this problem must be addressed.” stated SGA.
The idea for changing the election cycle was first brought to the assembly at the end of SGA’s weekly meeting on Sept. 26 by SGA advisor Steve Dutton in a discussion regarding the high turnover, according to Weekly reporting on the meeting.
At the Oct. 3 meeting, the proposed change in the election cycle was met with pushback from the general assembly, and a heated discussion lasting close to an hour ensued. In order for the changes to be made before this November’s election, SGA would need vote on the topic the following week, Oct. 10. The SGA bylaws state that any change to their election manual or bylaws must be announced to the student body two weeks before a vote, which representative Kyle Moore ‘19 pointed out. In response, the two week rule has been suspended and changed to a five day period.
Former representative Nicholas Gregg Rubingh ‘20, in a Facebook post pointed out that leaving a general election to the end of the school year means freshmen will not be able to run until the end of their year, and in which they will choose the representatives for their sophomore year. Additionally, seniors, who are about to graduate, will still have a say in who represents the students after they have left Muhlenberg.
This year’s membership includes three freshmen who came on as part of a special election in September to fill eight vacancies. Now, there are four vacant positions.
Additional suggestions have been to hold two elections this year or to implement the new timeline next year.
In addition to discussing changing the election cycle, SGA has brought on the SCORE system for receiving funds, and is now assigning a constituent pool to each representative.
Be sure to stop by Haas at 5:30 tonight to share your thoughts.