Apathy impedes SA's efforts to 'get out the vote'

Cougar news staff

The first day of voting in the Students' Association general elections left officials hopeful regarding total voter turnout, but many students seemed uninterested in casting their ballot for student representatives.

"It's hard to judge (voter turnout) on the first day," said Chief Election Commissioner Kelly Trainer Wednesday. "We don't count ballots until Thursday night, but overall I think turnout has been pretty good."

Trainer said the University Center Satellite voting location had been busy before lunch Wednesday, but by afternoon activity had died down. She said she expected more voters at the end of the day.

Voting continues today at seven campus locations.

"It seems that most (voters) are informed," Trainer said. "Those who aren't usually ask where they can find out more and go talk with the candidates."

Eric Cabello, Amaury Nora and Monica Quintero, the three presidential candidates, and other members of their parties visited various locations on campus to answer questions and campaign.

A televised debate between the candidates was broadcast on the Student Video Network Monday night, and SA held a live debate in the Cougar Den Tuesday during the lunch hour.

"Most of the candidates know each other and have worked closely for some time, so there hasn't been so much spitefulness as in past years. It's been pretty peaceful," Trainer said.

Chris Foster, a junior music education major who voted Wednesday, said he found out about the election through The Daily Cougar.

"I would say there is not a lot of student awareness," Foster said, but added that he made it a point to cast his vote. "I came to the Satellite to vote," he said. "I would not have come over here except to vote."

Foster said he did not attend the live debate nor see the SVN broadcast. He said he did not feel very confident about his knowledge of candidates running for Senate seats but said he did feel he knew the party views.

However, not all students shared Foster's enthusiasm. Cam Nguyen, a freshman university studies student who did not vote. "I don't know anything about any organizations here.

"I saw the posters and knew there was an election, but I'm not interested," she explained.

Foster said he believes the SA elections are important.

"The SA has so much to do with where our funds are directed," he said. "That's a lot of money. I think students should take an interest in those who serve their interests."

Voting continues today at PGH, Farish Hall, the Technology Building, the Law Center, the University Hilton, the UC Satellite and Melcher Hall. Students may cast votes only at the sight designated to the college of their major. For information, call (713) 743-5220.

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