Little to no competition for SBO elections

The path to elected office may never be easier than for those running for student body officer (SBO) positions this spring.

Three of the four SBO positions up for election on April 7 and 8 feature unopposed candidates: sophomore and presidential candidate Jason Blumenthal, sophomore and speaker of the assembly candidate Sarah Handler and freshman and secretary of the assembly candidate Olga Krapivner.

On the ballot for secretary of finance, which is the only contested race, are junior Hunter Vaughn and sophomore Kelsie Smith.

The presidential, speaker of the assembly and secretary of the assembly races all went to runoff elections last year because none of the candidates were able to earn the required more than 50 percent of the vote during the regular election.

Seven candidates ran for president, five ran for speaker of the assembly, three ran for the secretary of the assembly and two ran for secretary of finance, totaling 17 candidates.

“The election subcommittee is a little disappointed in the lack of participation from students,” Election Subcommittee Chair Jen Swenson said.

Despite the disappointment, Swenson said there are three major reasons for the lack of candidates on the ballot.

“Before the official list of candidates was released to the public, there were eight total candidates; however, these undeclared candidates were forced to drop from the race due to scheduling conflicts, and personal reasons,” Swenson said.

Swenson also said other students were interested in running but felt more qualified to run for a different Senate position in the fall. Other students missed the deadline to declare official candidacy and now must run as write-in candidates.

Voting will take place through Google Forms and will be available on the Brave Life App, multiple polling places around campus and through a link on Hilltop Happenings.

Even though most of the SBO candidates acknowledged the election will be less stressful and easier to win without opponents, they expressed equal disappointment in the lack of other students stepping up to run for SBO positions.

“In general, elections in any sort of situation are more meaningful if there are opponents because people have a choice then,” Handler said. “I’m a little disappointed that no one else took the initiative to do that.”

Handler, who joins Blumenthal on this year’s only ticket, Brave Future, is not alone in her disappointment.

“[The lack of competition] disheartens me, but it also proves that students need to be vamped up for Student Senate,” Blumenthal said.

During last year’s election, the presidential, speaker of the assembly and secretary of the assembly races all went to runoff elections last year because none of the candidates were able to earn the required more than 50 percent of the vote during the regular election.

Seven candidates ran for president, five ran for speaker of the assembly, three ran for the secretary of the assembly and two ran for secretary of finance, totally 17 candidates.