Elections: Constitutional amendment passes

Washington State University Vancouver recently held the annual spring elections, during which the student body voted on the positions of the Association Students of Washington State University (ASWSUV) President, Vice-president and senate offices, as well as a proposed amendment to the ASWSUV Constitution. The revision to the Constitution affected Article VII, Section 1, which states, “The annual spring election shall be the Tuesday and Wednesday before spring break.”

The amendment “passed with 488 votes (85.3%) yes, and 79 votes (13.8%) no,” according to Ashlyn Salzman, current External Affairs Chair for the ASWSUV Senate. As stated in the amendment, the days designated for the spring elections changed from Tuesday and Wednesday to a “minimum of two instructional days during the week prior to spring break.”

“An election could be held for at least two instructional days and a maximum of five instructional days during the week prior to spring break, but precedent has been set for now that three days is the most beneficial period of time for a robust voter turnout,” Salzman said.

Although the amendment changes the minimum number of days they are held, elections have been held for three days in previous years. However, the amendment now guarantees the elections will be held for a minimum of two days.

“The purpose of the amendment was to eliminate the need for the Elections Board to receive approval year after year to hold a three-day election…the voting system will stay the same as many students on this campus have always experienced it,” Salzman said.

The ASWSUV Constitution allows for three ways of amending the Constitution. The first is by a four-fifths vote of the senate members, the second is “upon petition of at least fifteen percent (15%) of the members of ASWSUV,” and the third is “a majority vote of ballots cast on the proposed modification at any regular ASWSUV election” as long as 15% of the ASWSUV population votes.

Many students may be wondering whether or not the amendment will carry much of an impact on the voter turnout of future elections.

“Typically, voting turnout is the highest on the first and third days of the election, and that has motivated the Elections Board to continue to open polling from Tuesday to Thursday. This is especially beneficial for students of WSU Vancouver, because many only come to campus when they have classes and that means some students are only here on the odd days of the week,” Salzman said.

According to the ASWSUV page at orgsync.com, 19.4% of the student population voted in the most recent election. With the openness of the amendment’s language and the elections now held a “minimum of two instructional days,” it is possible that the amendment will increase the student voice in campus politics.

For more information regarding the Constitutional amendment, students are encouraged to visit aswsuv.com.

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