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Online voting increases student participation

April 29, 2003

The switch from regular paper ballots to online voting has encouraged the Austin Peay student body to take a more active role in elections this year.

There has been a drastic increase in voting this year, said Student Government Association vice president Jonathan Jeans. We even had a run-off election because the candidate polls were so close.

According to Jeans, votes in this years online student-government election were near 500, up from 200 under a paper-ballot system used last year.
April 29, 2003

The switch from regular paper ballots to online voting has encouraged the Austin Peay student body to take a more active role in elections this year.

“There has been a drastic increase in voting this year,” said Student Government Association vice president Jonathan Jeans. “We even had a run-off election because the candidate polls were so close.”

According to Jeans, votes in this year's online student-government election were near 500, up from 200 under a paper-ballot system used last year.

The option to vote online allowed many commuters on campus to vote from home. Advertising the elections online through announcements and banner ads increased awareness of the elections and the convenient way to register votes.

“It was important to get commuters involved, to make them aware that we care about what they think, too,” said Jeans.

For the candidates, having a larger number of people in the system called for a tougher campaign strategy.

Gavin Roark, SGA president, says the steady increase in voter turnout since the start of online voting has had him searching for new ways to get his name recognized by resident students and commuters alike.

“As your voting population increases, you realize you need to extend your campaign to reach students who may not regularly be on campus,” said Roark. “It's a real challenge to get your name out there.”

For his part, Roark created a Web site that detailed his campaign and what issues he would like to tackle in the coming year.

“Most colleges are moving to online voting because it is more accessible to students,” said Roark. “They're realizing it is the best way to reach students.”