Low Voter Turnout Not Uncommon in Student Body Elections

North Dakota State student body elections have been plagued by low voter turnouts for the last decade.

Last week’s elections saw a voter turnout of 2,714, a figure that is 20.33 percent of the eligible voters. The average voter turnout of the last decade is 21.04 percent, according to figures provided by The Spectrum archives.

More tickets do not necessarily mean more voters.

The 2006 election had two tickets run for student body president and vice president, and — with the lowest NDSU enrollment in a decade — managed to be the only year in the last decade to have had over 3,000 students vote in the student body election. The 3,227 voters made up 28 percent of their student body.

Student body voters in 2008 and 2016 had four tickets on the ballot to choose from, but they only garnered 21 and 20 percent of the voting population, respectively.

In 2013, one ticket officially ran on the ballot and garnered around 2,300 votes, just over 17 percent of voters voting.

The buildup of an election year may have a slight effect on student body voters. Excluding the archives’ missing data from 2012, an average of 21.44 percent of student body voters vote during an election year, as opposed to 16.43 percent that vote during non-election years.

Eric McDaniel, current student body president, said in an email it “was great to see the increase in the number of students that voted. It shows that our student government public relations commission and student court, along with each student running for either president, vice president or a student senate position, did a great job of getting the word out.”

Charles “Chuck” Steinberger of 2016’s Chuck and Chaka ticket said in an email they “are very happy with the voter turnout this year. We think it is a reflection of the student body’s increased want for change on campus. There is a need to get more voters to turn out.”

Moir and Teotia won the presidential positions with about 40 percent of votes cast.

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