Eroded trust in Student Government may lower voter turn out

Sunny Kim

Students who voted in the previous executive alliance elections are probably wondering what caused the chaos and drama over the past two weeks. The excessive hearings by the Election Supervisory Board, resignation of the Supreme Court justices and the eventual hijacking of the election process by the Dean of Students only complicated the issue.  

Furthermore, Student Government members continued to blame each other to take responsibility for the chaotic situation, revealing broken relationships. The ESB and DoS were extremely late for a comprehensive explanation of the situation to the students, which severely hurt SG’s transparency and significance to the public even more.

Now, students are being asked to vote again in an entirely new election process starting this Wednesday 8:00 a.m. to Thursday 5:00 p.m. to finally usher a new president and vice president into office.

While some students will still probably vote in the new elections, but the promise of a newly cultured SG has rapidly faded in the eyes of the student body. It wouldn’t be surprising to see the lack of credibility in SG result in a significantly lower voter turnout in the new elections as compared to the record-breaking turnout of the previous election.

Jordan Durrani, chief justice and sole remaining member of the court, offered his opinions on the turnout of new elections this week.

“I’m not optimistic that it will match the high turnout of the original election,” Durrani said. “It’s a completely new election. Student response to the election results not being certified, in my opinion, wasn’t great, and I fear that folks have become jaded to petty student politics.”

Trust is not something that can be built overnight, and it will take a long time for SG to reestablish their already broken relationship with the general public.

Durrani further states that SG will face the negative consequences from this year’s election process.

“If we can’t even handle an integral process like the selection of our new student body president, how can we expect students to believe that we adequately represent student voices to groups like the UT System, the Texas Legislature and other stakeholders who make influential decisions,” Durrani said.

The toxic environment caused by a mixture of faults from the ESB and DoS is sure to have its lasting effects, including a lower voter turnout. Students should be disillusioned by the petty politics and ineffective “special elections” offer any constructive solutions. SG should actively learn from these mistakes to develop as a stronger institution that will support the students in times of need.   

Kim is a journalism freshman from Austin. Follow Kim on Twitter @sunny_newsiee.