By Kourtney Husnick
Cleveland State University’s Student Government Association elections are still scheduled for online voting starting today, March 31, through April 2 in the VikesConnect portal. The Board of Elections emailed current students a link to vote at approximately 9:30 a.m.
The BOE added several videos to their Facebook page with information from executive board candidates for both parties, the T.E.A.M. Party and the Reform Party, to substitute for the executive board forum that would typically have occurred on campus before elections.
Due to the switch to remote classes in response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, candidates running for the senate and the executive board lost almost all in-person campaigning time. BOE’s rules allowed campaigning to begin March 3, the Tuesday before spring break.
“Moving exclusively to online campaigning was definitely an adjustment, but we’ve been doing our best to reach students on social media,” said T.E.A.M.’s presidential candidate, Renee Betterson. “Obviously, not being able to speak with students on campus is disappointing since we lose the spontaneity of face-to-face interaction, but this is a difficult time for everyone.”
Campaigning has been even more difficult for the Reform Party, which did not have plans to advertise their message on social media.
“Having disavowed social media, we do not have a means by which to directly compete against the other party, which given the circumstances and rules for the election is the only way to campaign,” said Eliot Oreskovic, the Reform Party presidential candidate.
Some candidates expressed concerns about voter turnout as well. Some senator candidates and the Reform Party said they expect only a few hundred students to vote this year. However, the T.E.A.M. Party is remaining optimistic about student participation in this year’s election.
“This election is definitely going to be unique but we’re hopeful that students will remain engaged,” Betterson said.