Editorial: How to Win an SGA Election

By The Tower Staff

The Tower would like to congratulate the “Representing Catholic You” ticket on its sweep victory in this year’s Student Government Association (SGA) elections. It was a well-run campaign, and it’s clear that the awareness efforts paid off to get students to vote. After this year’s election, a few themes have seemed to develop on the matter of winning a student election. To get student votes at Catholic, you must go after them, and that’s just what they did.

The Representing Catholic You campaign, consisting of Jimmy Harrington (President), Weston Kirby (Vice President), Brendan Dillon (Treasurer) and Sophie Czerniecki (Secretary) publicly began on March 14th in a short video featuring the campus, students, and finally the candidates themselves announcing their intentions to run. The video, at the time of writing, has almost 4,000 views and more than 50 shares on Facebook. It was the beginning of an organized marketing effort, one aiming to reach as many students as possible. Leading up to the April 11th election, the candidates kept their ultimate goal on the minds of all who would listen, with consistent posts on Facebook and Instagram on both personal and their ticket’s accounts.

On election day, the candidates and some friends placed themselves at various spots on campus, handing out small flyers and cards with the Representing Catholic You logo on them. Harrington and Kirby were stationed in front of the Pryzbyla Center, a primary voting location for those who opted to vote in person and not on the Nest website. For those who might’ve missed the four candidates on Facebook or in person, they probably met their presence on Snapchat, where the group had an election day geofilter with all of their likenesses on it for those who swiped on the picture messaging app. Without it being beat to a drum, the point is that the ticket was in the face and on the mind of the Catholic campus. For better or worse, that’s a huge reason for the victory.

Another bold move by the campaign was using a snapchat geofilter on St. Patrick’s Day at an off-campus student gathering. The candidates passed out campaign buttons to friends and used the day to introduce themselves to other students. While this campaign did not collude with the Russians, they did use their funds to their advantage. A four person ticket may become the precedent for future campaign successes.

Credit to them, these social media blasts featured policy ideas in a series of platform-related posts leading up to the vote. Harrington and Kirby debated opponents Justin Smith and Abby Maser on the policies and their vision for the university at a presidential debate hosted by The Tower. The ticket made great effort to focus on the issues, and not “buy the election” whatsoever. But there were undoubtedly students who knew nothing about the issues and voted for Representing Catholic You because of the name recognition. That’s a credit and not a slight, but shows what it takes to win a student election. For a victory, you might need the students who care very little about student government, but were pestered just enough to get to the polls.

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