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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Campus campaigners discourage voting

 
 

Imagine that it’s a sunny afternoon just before the student body elections begin. Somewhere on campus, political campaigners are shouting catch phrases and passing out fliers. One student smiles and politely accepts the literature while another keeps his head down and quickens his pace to a near run. Both walk away with a sour taste in their mouth regarding the student elections.
Unfortunately, this is an all too often occurrence in the days leading up to the student body elections. With just 11,305 votes cast in the Texas A&M student body president race, voter turnout was less than 30 percent this year. Undoubtedly, aggressive and bothersome student campaigners had something to do with this.
Campus political campaigners offer no real information on the candidates they support, only catchy slogans and pleas for votes.
Such obtrusive efforts create animosity in potential voters and give many a reason not to participate in the election. Many Aggies, like freshman computer engineering major Adam Ramirez, decided not to vote because of the irritating campaign methods.
“I just got tired of people handing me fliers and yelling dumb slogans all the time,” he said. “That kind of thing gets old fast and just makes you want to stay out of the whole process.”
The election results showed that some students were willing to vote, just not for candidates with annoying campaigns. This was made painfully clear to presidential hopefuls by the 441 votes received by the fictional character Cadet Home.
Obviously, these students cared enough to take the time to vote, but they chose a cartoon over a real candidate. This should at least make student body president candidates wonder why more than 400 students voted for a two-dimensional character who had no campaign volunteers (or a functional brain).
Also, SBP candidates should take a hint from the general sentiment on campus. Most students readily voice their opinion that they don’t care to see a campaign slogan on every corner. It’s also no coincidence that political fliers almost always seem to find their way into the nearest trash can. When cartoon characters in the school newspaper use smoke screens to evade fliers from relentless campaigners, it may be time to rethink the game plan.
Student campaigners say they are just getting out the message of their favorite candidate. The problem is, they offer no factual information or hint of a political platform. If political campaigners were actually giving meaningful information, that would be different. With few exceptions, this election year’s campaigning methods didn’t include the concept of actually stating the facts.
The majority of political campaigners are good Aggies who mean well and only want the best for their school. The problem is that most of them go about it the wrong way, and that hurts the election as a whole. A word of advice to next year’s campaigners: do away with the aggravating campaign tactics and provide some real information to those who want it.

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