Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Apathetic politics plague SGA

SGA must increase voter turnout in the Spring General Elections
Noah Willoughby

During an interview in April, prior to the start of the Fall 2023 semester, Student Government Association (SGA) President Zachary Neopote was asked about his view on the low voter turnout for SGA elections. 

“I think that as [a] university with approximately 34,000 people, it would be nearly impossible for every single person to know who we are as an organization — which is one of my goals this year is for us to get out there and increase our presence so more students do know what we’re doing,” Neopote said. 

Voter turnout has been a consistent issue for SGA for quite some time. During the most recent election cycle, SGA garnered a 1.82% turnout rate, falling from 2.45% the previous semester. 

This election also resulted in some seats being filled by uncontested candidates and some seats not being filled at all. In the SGA’s most recent General Assembly, a new senator was appointed internally — not by UTSA students —  and was sworn into a seat not filled during the general election. 

How can the SGA accurately represent the will of the student body when there are not enough applicants to fill every seat? How can this be done when they consistently maintain low voter turnout rates? These are issues that SGA needs to address head-on. 

Politics is competitive by nature. Competitiveness drives representatives to do their best to advocate for the interests of their constituents because if they do not, they may be replaced in the next election. Voters will hold them accountable on the ballot. 

While it is the responsibility of Roadrunners to vote for the individuals they wish to represent them, these issues still need to be addressed by SGA. While Neopote has committed to “get out there and increase [SGA’s] presence so more students do know what we’re doing,” what exactly has been done to expand SGA’s reach? When approached to set up an interview to debrief on the accomplishments that SGA had made this semester, Neopote declined. 

As the fall semester comes to an end and a new spring semester is on the horizon, SGA needs to commit to increasing voter turnout during the Spring General Elections. Although UTSA is a large campus and not all of the 34,000 students know what SGA is doing, they should strive to inform as many constituents as possible — transparency is key in SGA’s line of work. If SGA wants to grow as an organization and improve the manner in which it represents its constituents, increasing voter turnout is the first step.

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About the Contributors
Noah Willoughby
Noah Willoughby, Staff Writer
Noah (he/him) is a Communications major at UTSA. Noah was born in San Antonio and has been here all of his life. He has spent a large portion of that life working with people who have disabilities throughout various jobs, but decided to come back to college to find a new path. He enjoys reading and writing and hopes to do the latter as a full-time gig.

Comments (1)

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    Butch OxendineNov 22, 2023 at 7:20 am

    SGA must prove that it has power, has accomplishments for students, and actually does real things that benefit students. Your low turnout shows that the general students doesn’t care about SGA and many don’t know anything about SGA.

    ASGA researches elections nationwide and has developed tools to help SGAs improve their election results.