In the wake of Florida A&M University’s Spring 2002 SGA elections, many students have been left wondering whether the campus’ election process is fair and if their votes really count.
Razor-thin margins in a variety of categories, re-votes for some positions but not others and stories of students not being allowed to vote because of discrepancies have created an undertone of suspicion and a feeling of disenfranchisement among many in the student body.
“I waited in line for 50 minutes only to get to the registration table and be told that I could not vote at the Grand Ballroom because my credits make me a sophomore,” said Daniel Watkins, a first-year computer information systems student from Augusta, Ga. “I think it is ridiculous that as a first year student I wasn’t informed about these details and changes before hand.”
Many recognize that there are an increasing number of candidates buying their way into office.
“Many students must begin to realize that their activity fees pay their elected officials, so it is important that we elect students on the basis of accurate representation and not on the amount of money they may spend for professional posters/flyers, car rides, etc.,” said Xaviera Estes, a sophomore Biology pre-med student from Houston.
The campus election codes, enforced by the electoral commission, were specifically designed to bring rules and order to campus elections and the electoral process. The packet of codes contains guidelines for election policy, outlines the duties of the electoral commission and gives strict rules and regulations for candidate conduct.
Sherri Fadeyi, a sophomore computer information system student from Tampa said, “I believe that our university’s election policy towards SGA Pres. and VP and other positions that are voted on by the entire school should mirror that of the state of Florida, where an automatic recount takes place if a ticket does not win by a margin of at least 100 votes.”