Make sure you vote

I know many of you are already aware, but in case you missed it, election season is starting here at Rensselaer. The elections website is up, candidates can declare their candidacy, and the platforms and individual websites of those running for office are starting to go live.

Candidates are also starting to ask their fellow students for nominations. Just to give you an idea of the scale on which they’re operating, the largest number of nominations needed to be put on the ballot is for the offices of grand marshal and president of the Union, in which each candidate needs at least 600 nominations. The fewest number of nominations needed is for graduate senator, which only requires 10, if you don’t consider the office of graduate council representative, which doesn’t require any. It is also worth noting that by nominating a candidate, you are in no way agreeing to vote for them, and you are free to nominate as many candidates for the same position as you would like. There are, however, some stipulations as to which positions you are allowed to nominate for, based on your class year. If you’re interested in learning more about the process to run for a position in Student Government, take a look at the GM Week 2018 Elections Handbook, which can be found at https://elections.union.rpi.edu/handbook.

In this time, it is more important than ever to pay attention to what is going on around campus and particularly in Student Government. As hard as it may be to find the time to read through all the candidates’ platforms and consider the direction you want the Union and our government to take, it is worth it in the end. Funnily enough, the Student Government, how they operate, and the decisions they make do have a strong and immediate impact on the lives of almost every student on campus. You have both a right and responsibility to vote, and it is up to you take advantage and make the most of it.

As elections approach, there are a few things to look out for that may help you make an informed decision beyond simply reading the platforms of the candidates. First are the debates. The primary debates take place on April 2—if there are primaries—and the final debates are on April 4.  Also on April 4, The Poly will release a GM week issue that will contain answers to a questionnaire and endorsements for the GM, PU, and undergraduate president positions, and constitutional amendments.

The time will come to make your decision on April 6, with the final elections—and potentially on April 3 in the primaries, if there are enough candidates. Please take the time to consider your decision, and please take the time to express that through a vote—to make your voice heard in the way that arguably counts the most. Information about the candidates and their platforms can be found at https://elections.union.rpi.edu/offices.