Voting in Student Government elections provides worthwhile investment

The Daily Cougar reported in the article ‘SGA election results in runoff’ (News, Monday) that the 2009 Student Government election saw the greatest number of candidates in the race (74 candidates for 32 positions) as well as the highest student participation in UH history with 3,201 votes cast.

Although voter turnout reached a milestone, the numbers are not all that impressive. About 36,000 students attend UH each semester (the 2008 statistical handbook lists total enrollment for fall 2008 at 36,104), which means roughly 8.8% of the student population voted.

Voting is easier than it’s ever been. Gone are the days of curtained booths and paper ballots – all UH students needed to vote were a PeopleSoft 8.9 number and access to the internet.
Students are already spending time on online – social networking site Facebook averages 65 billion page views per month, according to a 2008 article in the New York Times. It is disheartening more students didn’t exercise their right to vote, a right people in other countries are willing to risk their lives for.

Because no candidate received at least 50 percent of the student vote, the presidential and vice-presidential teams with the two highest percentages of votes will participate in a run-off election this week.

The Daily Cougar is hosting a debate between presidential candidates Kenneth Fomunung and Alexander Obregon at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the World Affairs Lounge, University Center Underground. The event is free and open to the public and gives students an opportunity to submit questions to the candidates.

Taking an hour to attend the debate and ten minutes to vote will give students a voice in choosing in their leaders – leaders who will shape future policies on tuition and fees, on-campus housing, food services and parking, issues which affect students every day.

Students can cast their votes at www.studentelection.uh.edu from 8 a.m. Wednesday until 8 p.m. Thursday.

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