The Associated Students of Michigan State University, or ASMSU, have set up their green ASMSU branded tent outside of Student Services, which can mean only one thing — it’s time for ASMSU elections.
Members have chalked the sidewalks all across campus in an attempt to get a better voter turnout this year.
ASMSU’s voter turnout has been less than satisfactory in recent years, bringing in roughly 1,500 voters last election and even less in the election prior. Regarding this issue, ASMSU President Lorenzo Santavicca said it is because of issues the organization has had in marketing itself to the students.
“In past years, the organization has found itself in some difficulties in marketing what it does for students, but I think this year I think we’ve been very intentional about marketing our services out to students,” Santavicca said.
Santavicca said he hopes to see change this year because ASMSU has changed who it engages in the organization to help out with elections.
“I think what we’ve been doing is engaging all parts of the organization with elections,” Santavicca said. “Traditionally, the organization has relied solely on the General Assembly to get the word out about elections, but we’ve engaged our Student Allocations Board, we’ve engaged our class councils intentionally this year.”
Part of what might bring students to vote this year are several proposals students are being asked to vote on.
Namely, there is a resolution to add Muslim Students' Association to CORES and COPS, a renewal of a tax on James Madison College students, renewal of the ASMSU readership program and a resolution to make Safe Ride a full-time service.
Vice President of Finance and Operations Jason Barnett said he is unsure how well Safe Ride will fair on the ballot as it is a new program.
“Being very new, a lot of the student probably still doesn’t know what (Safe Ride) is,” Barnett said. “We’ll really have to see about that at the end of the week, but I can tell you that from the students who have used it, we’re getting of great positive feedback.”
On the other hand, Barnett said he is confident the readership program will pass because of how many students take advantage of the program.
Barnett said, “Readership has been something that’s been pretty popular on our campus, at least throughout my entire four years here. Actually just a few months ago, over 100,000 newspapers were drawn from all the bins around campus.”
MSA President Abraham Aiyash made a Facebook post on Monday encouraging people to go out and vote. Not only for the proposal that would add MSA to CORES and COPS, but also for the James Madison Student Tax and ASMSU Tax & Readership.
Barnett said despite the consistently low voter turnout, he expects to see an increase in voters this year.
“In my time at ASMSU, we’ve traditionally had pretty low voter turnout and that’s nothing new,” Barnett said. “I’m really optimistic this year that more students are going to be engaged in voting. Not just for the Safe Ride referenda and all the tax items that are on agenda this year, but for all their representatives as well.”
In tune with this, Santavicca said he also anticipates a higher voter turnout this year and set the goal of above 10 percent of the undergraduate student body.
Santavicca said, “My personal goal that I set for the organization is above 10 percent. I think that we are on track with that based on some of the people that we’ve been seeing coming out, and that’s consistent with what we’ve been seeing on social media.”
This would be a considerable increase from last year’s percentage, which was less than 1 percent of the undergraduate students at MSU.
The elections are open until April 17 and ASMSU will continue to be outside Student Services to get their voter turnout up. Students can also vote online at studentelections.msu.edu.