The annual fall elections have begun with twelve positions currently open. Early and late fall elections were combined after changes to the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) Great Book. The petitioning period started on Monday, Oct. 12 and has been extended until Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 5 p.m. to motivate further student involvement. This is the first election that the new supervisor of elections, thesis student Annika Kufrovich, will oversee.
“I think this is a very important role that most people take for granted,” Kufrovich wrote in an email interview. “Publicizing election information, getting people to run, and getting people to turnout are really important, and I’m especially interested in [voter] turnout because it’s the focus of my thesis. I also lost a couple jobs in off-campus choirs and with NMNC due to the pandemic and was looking for some work that wouldn’t be a large time commitment for the entirety of the semester.”
For this election, Kufrovich will focus on increasing engagement and encouraging students to run. On the fall elections email thread, Kufrovich has shared the duties, expectations and time commitments of each position. The positions open this election are three student court justices, five student allocation committee (SAC) representatives, an educational policy committee (EPC) representative, an international studies representative, a gender studies representative and a career services representative.
“I think publicizing the time commitments is really helpful since I don’t think most people realize that these positions are not all high time commitments,” Kufrovich explained. “Some are more than others, but for the most part these are really easy additions to your schedule that tend to look good on resumes and CVs.”
In the pre-pandemic world, the supervisor of elections sat at a table in Hamilton “Ham” Center to talk to students about the elections, encourage them to vote and run for a position. COVID-19 and less foot traffic in Ham made Kufrovich focus on virtual outreach.
“All our outreach has to be virtual so I am having some open hours on Google Meet for people to come and ask questions, getting the fall elections email bumped at minimum once per day during the petitioning period, and likely having hourly bumps on election day,” Kufrovich said. “I’m also considering having club leaders send out reminders to their members to vote if possible as having more sources reaching out may be helpful in getting more people to vote.”
While New College has been recognized for its voter turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, student government elections have not had the same results. Last fall an emergency election was needed for positions that did not receive more than ten votes. There are often certain positions that receive a lot of votes, while others do not get much attention. During this fall’s emergency elections, over 200 students cast their vote, but some write-in candidates did not get the same attention. Kufrovich noted that between 200 and 300 students is a good turnout for an NCSA election. However, Kufrovich predicted less participation in this election. “Unless there’s competition for a specific position—especially since we’re near midterms right now—we’re probably looking at a ballpark of 100 people participating unless some of what I’m doing boosts turnout a bit,” Kufrovich explained.
The NCSA welcomed new members after the fall emergency elections and recently welcomed two new police liaisons and a new Speaker of the Towne Meeting. Now the NCSA will look to fill empty positions from the last election and positions that need new representatives. Of the 12 positions on the ballot, seven still need candidates. Fall election petitioning will end on Wednesday, Oct. 21 and voting will be held on Thursday, Oct. 22.