Due to the recount, this year’s FUSA elections have been the talk of campus this past week. However, the fact that Fairfield University voter turnout this February was the lowest it’s been in fourteen years is just as notable.

A total of 974 students exercised their right to vote, 251 fewer than the yearly average of 1,224 since 1989*.

“Sometimes it comes down to how much ‘buzz’ is in the air with these kinds of things. Maybe this year the ‘buzz’ just wasn’t present,” said Brian Leverone, class of 2003, who ran the election as Court Justice of FUSA.

Raising awareness about upcoming elections is always important. FUSA candidates provided fellow students with an overwhelming amount of information, including posters in the dorms and signs in the Barone Campus Center.

While Karen Donoghue, current FUSA president, noted that the “election commission this year did more advertising than in the past,” many students who chose not to vote simply lacked interest.

“I didn’t vote in the elections. I don’t really care that much, I’m just one person and I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference,” said Stephanie Finelli, ’06.

The sophomore class turnout was greatest, followed by the freshmen, junior, and senior classes.

I’ve always voted,” said Michael Ciavaglia, ’04, “but I pay more attention to my own class council than to the FUSA presidency.”

So what can be done to increase overall voter interest in FUSA elections? One option may be to make voting more convenient for students.

“Voter turnout can be increased by implementing electronic voting. Unfortunately, the use of Campus Pipeline for elections is not an option at this point,” said Steve Winkel, graduate assistant advisor FUSA.

Donoghue agrees that online voting would be useful. “People will be able to vote from all over campus, not to mention commuters at their houses.”

At present, Campus Pipeline cannot display all Senate candidates on one screen, causing confusion for voters. As Winkel points out, “Electronic voting is within reach, but the students need to show they want it too!”

*Numbers from 2000 not available.

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