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By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Here’s what you need to know about this year’s SGA elections

Photo Illustration by Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor
Some students are marking down the days until Thursday and Friday’s Student Government Association election.

The Student Government Association’s 2024 election is on the horizon and candidates are actively petitioning for your vote. It may seem like a daunting task to figure out what information you need to be an informed voter.

On Thursday and Friday, students will have the opportunity to elect the next SGA president, vice president and senators. A referendum is also on the ballot to poll students’ desire to add the SGA president and vice president as voting members on the Board of Trustees.

Here is everything you need to know before casting your ballot in this year’s election:

When is voting?
Voting will open April 11 at 9 a.m. and close April 12 at 9 p.m. This year, the SGA reformed the Joint Elections Commission, which led to the commission pushing the election, normally scheduled in late March, to April. This is the second year in a row that elections have been pushed back.

How do I vote?
Ballots will be emailed to students and will be available at the top of the GW Engage website throughout the voting period. There is no in-person voting.

Who is running?
Four candidates are running for president — SGA Cabinet Secretary Nicky Beruashvili, SGA Sens. Dan Saleem (CCAS-U) and Ethan Fitzgerald (CCAS-U), and junior Lauren K. Harris.

Two candidates will duke it out for vice president — SGA Sen. Ethan Lynne (CCAS-U) and transfer student Aly McCormick.

Twenty-five students are running for 40 senate seats. The race for the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences’ eight undergraduate senate seats is the only competitive race, with 13 candidates battling over eight seats.

What qualifications do you need to have to be on the ballot?
To appear on the SGA ballot, presidential and vice presidential candidates must collect at least 379 student signatures, 1.5 percent of the student population. Senate candidates are required to collect the number of signatures equivalent to one percent of their constituency, depending on the school-specific seat that they are running for. These numbers can be found on the JEC website. Senators are not required to have any past experience in the SGA.

What referendum is on the ballot?
This year’s ballot includes a referendum to gauge student interest in adding the SGA president and vice president as voting members of the Board of Trustees. The SGA unanimously added the referendum to the ballot at the end of February after the Board rejected a similar senate resolution in November. A recurring goal for the SGA, the Board also rejected a prior proposal to add students as voting members in 2020.

Where can I find information about candidates?
The official campaign period began April 1, when candidates could begin putting up posters and posting on social media to advertise their campaigns. The Hatchet will also host a debate between presidential and vice presidential candidates from 7 to 10 p.m. on April 9 in the first floor University Student Center presentation space.

What responsibilities does the SGA president have?
The SGA president controls the executive branch and represents students’ views at some official meetings like the Board of Trustees’. At meetings, the president updates trustees and officials on the SGA proceedings.

What responsibilities does the SGA vice president have?
The SGA vice president acts as president and presiding officer of the senate but only votes to break a tie. They have the opportunity to hire senate staffers and can also advocate for students to administrators.

What do SGA senators do?
Students from their respective schools elect SGA senators who are in charge of drafting legislation that reflects the interests of their constituents. At bi-weekly SGA meetings, senators can sponsor, propose and vote on legislation in front of the governing body. This legislation can take the form of a bill or a resolution.

Senators bring bills before the SGA to amend the bylaws, allocate money, overrule or approach executive orders and create special senate committees. Resolutions are required for surveys that will be promoted on SGA platforms and when calling on the University to implement policies.

What is the JEC?
The JEC is in charge of overseeing SGA elections. The JEC investigates any complaints of candidates breaking rules during the campaign and election process and outlines the requirements that candidates must follow while running for office. The four commission positions are appointed by the SGA president and confirmed by the senate.

When are election results announced?
The JEC will announce the election results Saturday, April 13 at 4 p.m. in the student center amphitheater. Results will be posted on the JEC website shortly after.

When will SGA members take office?
Newly elected SGA members will begin a transitional period immediately after election results are certified by the JEC on April 13. They will then officially take office on April 29, the last day of classes.

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