SGA seeks more turnouts for elections

Gregory D. Cook, Photographer

On March 20-21, the students of Bakersfield College will once again have the opportunity to decide who will be the new officers of their Student Government Association by casting their votes in BC’s spring elections. But this year, the SGA is making a few changes in the process, hoping to improve voter turnout and streamline costs.

While voting will still take place online, in an effort to improve on the 941 voters that participated in last year’s elections, the SGA plans on giving students the option of walk-up voting on campus as well.

“We’ll have booths set up in locations where students can actually walk up to the table and vote using laptops,” explained SGA general counsel Derrick Kenner, who is overseeing the elections. “And they can also receive prizes for voting.”

Currently, the SGA plans on raffling off an MP3 player, an E-reader and a tablet as prizes, with a student’s vote automatically entering them in the raffle.

“They can also receive walk-up prizes like t-shirts,” said Kenner. “It’s just something tobring the people to the table to vote.”

Another change for this year will be that the voting will take place through the Inside BC portal instead of the Web site that was used last year. In addition to being more convenient for students, Kenner pointed out that the change will save money.

“We’re actually saving over $3,000 by going with the Inside BC portal,” he said. “So the only things we’re really paying money for are the incentives.”

Kenner estimates this year’s election will cost the SGA under $800. “And most of the money that we spend is going back to the students in the incentives,” he said. “It’s a really good deal.”

Students will be asked to vote for their choice for the positions of the SGA’s executive board. The offices of president, vice-president, secretary, activities liaison, legislative liaison, general counsel and treasurer are all up for grabs, and any student who meets the requirements can run for the office.

Candidates must have completed at least 12 units at BC, and be enrolled in at least 6 units during their term in office. Officers are also expected to maintain at least a 2.0 overall GPA.

The first step in running for office is to pick up a candidate packet from the SGA offices in CC4. The packets, which must be submitted by March 13, contain the forms needed to declare candidacy and a petition upon which the candidate must gather 70 signatures of fellow students in order to have his or her name placed on the ballot. Candidates who miss the March 13 deadline can still run as write-in candidates.

Officers serving on the executive board of the SGA are paid $8 an hour up to a maximum of 19 hours a week, with the money coming from the proceeds of the sale of the SGA discount cards.

Also on this year’s ballot will be a proposed recommendation to amend the school’s smoking policy.

“The smoking policy will be on there as well,” said Kenner. “There’s 100 percent tobacco-free, designated smoking areas, or just the current policy we have now.”

Kenner stressed that what students will be voting on is a recommendation. The results of the voting will be presented to the College Counsel, a committee made up of department heads, and finally the college president.

“And if they approve it,” said Kenner. “They will make it policy for the college.”