As the Student Government election season approaches, Commissioner of Elections Aimée Simon said she hopes this election will go “smoothly” and that voter turnout will improve.
Pre-qualifying for the SG presidential candidates will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, with the general election being held March 11 through 12.
“My biggest responsibility is making sure that the elections go as smoothly as possible and, to be honest, as drama-free as possible,” said Simon, political communication senior. “Because we know that less drama gets more students out to vote.”
Simon said voter turnout at the University is low compared to other Southeastern Conference schools, such as the University of Alabama.
“’Bama has beat us in football and voter turnout,” Simon said. “I am really ready for students to take SG seriously, and I really want to beat ’Bama.”
Simon also said she understands students running for SG office have invested a significant amount of time in preparing for this election.
“The candidates seeking these positions normally would have started planning their campaign since last summer,” Simon said. “It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there — that’s why I want this election to go as smoothly as possible.”
Simon said she has already started to meet with some presidential and vice presidential candidates to explain the election’s code of conduct.
Some of the previous campaign violations included candidates standing too close outside of academic buildings’ doors and a campaign that put up signs in bars, which Simon said is against University rules.
One issue that needs to be improved is the University’s voter turnout, Simon said.
“Students feel disengaged from Student Government,” Simon said. “A lot of students feel that we are all in this as a résumé builder or just in it for ourselves.”
SG President Taylor Cox said he feels that many students do not value SG and its importance to the University.
“I hate to say it, but a lot of students just view SG as the Scantron factory,” Cox said.
However, Simon said if the candidates better publicize their initiatives, the negative perception many students have of SG can be changed.
“Students need to know that we are here for them and that we are their biggest advocates,” Simon said.
Before becoming commissioner of elections, Simon started her career at SG during the spring semester of her freshman year in 2010. She was appointed as a half-seat senator for UCFY before being elected as a senator for the Manship School of Mass Communication.