Proposals of marriage are not the only excitement at the Undergraduate Council. Approximately 2,400 undergraduates participated in last week’s council elections, representing the highest voter turnout for a fall election since the introduction of the electronic voting system five years ago. The turnout was sparked by more competitive elections, as candidates ran for positions in a recently downsized council, and by strong publicity efforts on the part of the council and the candidates themselves. We applaud the efforts of the council to increase campus involvement in our student government, and we hope that the trend will continue throughout the year. More over, we hope that the elected officers hold to their promises.
As always, voter turnout was highest among first-years—approximately half of all first-years voted in this year’s elections, thanks to extensive Yard-based advertising campaigns and information sessions. However, this year the council also did surprisingly well among older students; two thirds of all voters were upperclassmen. Competitive elections were held in every undergraduate House but Mather, and in Winthrop House, ten candidates ran for the three available positions. We hope that the enthusiasm showed by the first-years will remain as those students enter the Houses.
Increased voter turnout in fall elections is crucial to the council’s mission. Without the support of the students it represents, the council lacks credibility with the administration; without their input, the council will lose a source of strong ideas for improvement. The lackluster turnout of recent years represented a vote of no confidence in the council’s ability to effect positive change. We hope that during this year, the newly elected council representatives will be able to reverse that perception.