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The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

ASCSU elections: Why don’t more people vote?

ASCSU+elections%3A+Why+dont+more+people+vote%3F

Collegian | Sophia Sirokman

Allie Seibel and Piper Russell

Colorado State University student voter turnout for the 2022-23 Associated Students of Colorado State University elections was 6.17%. The 2022 election season, which concluded with the announcement of current President Rob Long and Vice President Elijah Sandoval, saw only 1,854 students voting. That number decreased from 2021’s 13.73% and 2020’s 15%.

“I do not vote,” said Maddie, a CSU first-year transfer student who only provided her first name. “I just don’t really feel affected by it in any way — positive or negative.”

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The 2023 election season has four candidate pairs for president and vice president and two candidates for speaker of the senate, which is an increase from 2022, when Rob Long and Elijah Sandoval ran unopposed on the official ballot.

“I would say that ASCSU controls a large portion of student fees, and they also represent the student body to university leadership. It matters who they vote for and who represents CSU as a whole.” –Grace Neumann, ASCSU elections manager

ASCSU manages a budget of $57 million every year from student fees. ASCSU funds student clubs and organizations, including CSU Athletics, Student Diversity Programs and Services, RamEvents and RamRide.

As well as funding many organizations, ASCSU “advocates for students on a university, local, state and national level and represents the student body on administrative campus committees,” according to the ASCSU website.

“I would say that ASCSU controls a large portion of student fees, and they also represent the student body to university leadership,” ASCSU Elections Manager Grace Neumann said in an email. “It matters who they vote for and who represents CSU as a whole.”

“I think there could be multiple reasons why students choose to not vote,” Neumann wrote. “The main one is that some students may not know about the ASCSU elections or the role of ASCSU in the university’s governance structure. Without sufficient awareness of the importance of voting, students may not be motivated to participate in the election. Luckily, this year we have a competitive race with two speaker of the senate tickets and four presidential tickets. With this, many campaigns’ awareness rises. Additionally, the elections committee will be tabling all day during voting (April 3-5). We are hoping this brings awareness to elections and makes voting easily accessible.”

Candidates have promoted their platforms on The Plaza and around campus, with some even visiting classes to raise awareness for their campaigns. All have Instagram accounts focused on their priorities and goals if elected to office. Despite the engagement attempts, voter turnout and desire to vote remain low on campus.

“Focusing on student outreach and creating voter awareness (are) the most important component of increasing voter turnout,” Neumann wrote. “Candidates need to emphasize the importance of voting and encourage students to use their voices.”

Despite all of the initiatives candidates adopt to try and make their campaign more attractive to student voters, especially given the history of low voter turnout, most students on campus do not vote or only vote because of a personal connection, such as having a friend connected with ASCSU.

“I do not (vote),” said Makayla, a CSU first-year student who only provided her first name. “I’m a tour guide on campus, and I talk about how you can vote during ASCSU (elections); I know that people provided their names and stuff, so I haven’t looked for (the candidates), but I know it’s happening. If (voting) was popped up or if they sent an email about it with the form, I probably would vote.”

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Other students expressed similar opinions about why they choose not to vote. Sophomore student Lauren, who only provided her first name, said that she has not voted and does not plan to vote because she doesn’t know about elections. Bradley, another first-year student who only provided his first name, said he was planning to vote because one of his girlfriend’s friends is running.

“I have not (voted), but I am going to in this next election,” said Collin, a junior who also only provided his first name. “I didn’t know about (ASCSU elections). I’m going to vote now because I have a friend who is helping with elections.”

“I would like to see ASCSU elected leaders focus on enhancing student well-being and aiming to improve students’ lives both on and off campus,” Neumann said. “I hope to see integrity, compassion and professionalism in ASCSU leadership next year. I am confident that the candidates this year aim to achieve exactly that.”

Reach Piper Russell and Allie Seibel news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian.

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About the Writers
Photo of Allie Seibel
Allie Seibel, Editor in Chief

Allie Seibel is the editor in chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, a role she loves more and more with each day. Previously the news editor and news...

Photo of Piper Russell
Piper Russell, News Editor

Piper Russell is one of The Collegian’s news editors this year and is thrilled to be working in the role. She started as a news reporter her sophomore...

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