SGA transparency should extend beyond process

The UH Student Government Association held run-off presidential elections starting Wednesday, but many students don’t know the position is still unsettled. ‘

Students also did not have access to the candidates’ platform statements or other material from an official SGA’ or UH Web site other than a Youtube commercial shot by KUHF Channel 8.

Transparency is a significant part of the electoral process and includes access to real information about the candidates and their positions. ‘

More than 35,000 students on the campus, are being represented by choices made by less than 10 percent of the total population, 3,201 voters.’

This is a record turnout and is a step in the right direction, but there is more to an election than logging numbers at the polls. ‘ ‘

There was a real dearth of information both during the elections and during the runoff about the positions of the candidates, their goals and their priorities. ‘

The bulk of SGA campaigning took place on Facebook, with some discussion in The Daily Cougar and on campus.’ Unfortunately, not all students use the social networking site or have time to ferret out the intricacies of the platforms on a student’s schedule. ‘

The electorate does have a mandate to seek out appropriate representation and to educate themselves on the candidates. However real information was light on the ground, requiring detective work to make an educated vote. ‘

If there is no prior availability of the candidates’ platform, all the clarity in the world only gives us an understanding of a popularity contest. ‘

UH elections are increasing in turnout, from a little more than 2,700 in 2008 to more than 3,000 in this election.’

This is not the trend of an alienated voter base, but one that is increasing in community interest.’

Making platforms and candidate information available on the SGA Web site is a concrete way to help students make informed decisions and possibly empower them to take part in the political process at UH. ‘

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