GSB officials don’t expect more voters

Steven Brittain

After weeks of campaigning by Government of the Student Body candidates, GSB officials said they doubt student voter turnout will increase very much for the general elections.Despite the controversial referendums such as fare-free CyRide and the future of senate specialty seats, coupled with the integration of an online-voting system, the student turnout probably will be only slightly more than the 12 percent turnout last year, said Chris Wisher, GSB election commissioner.”Most students are busy with their daily lives, and they don’t see the general impact that GSB makes,” said Wisher, senior in pre-business. “It’s a classic voter-apathy problem, and it’s a problem that GSB needs to address.”Last year, the election drew about 3,000 voters, or 12 percent of ISU students, to the polls. The number more than doubled the 1999 turnout of 1,480.Wendell Mosby, member of the election commission, said the candidates did not engage the students with their platforms during the campaign.”It’s hard to predict how the students will actually respond on election day, but the candidates haven’t really sparked any interest,” said Mosby, senior in apparel merchandising, design and production.Mosby said he doesn’t think the addition of the online voting system will help increase student interest or voter turnout. Technology does not necessarily translate to greater convenience for the voters if they continue to be so apathetic, he said.Most students don’t vote and don’t get involved in the election process because of the student government’s low profile on campus, said Richard Lathrum, sophomore in agricultural business.”Since I’ve been at Iowa State, I’ve never seen GSB do anything that affects the student body, so why should I vote?” he said. “Ultimately, it seems like the administration overrides anything positive that GSB tries to do anyway. Voting for GSB is only worthwhile if you’re involved in a student organization that is funded by GSB. I don’t see what difference it would make to any other student.”However, some students see value in the their choosing peer leaders.Tim Hennemann, senior in electrical engineering, said it is important for students to vote because it is one of the few times the entire student body has a voice.”Students need to get out and vote, especially since GSB directly deals with our money and our student organizations,” he said. “If you don’t take an active role and if you don’t make the effort to vote, then how can you complain about the decisions that GSB makes?”