by Francis Ryan Pabiania and Hannah Patricia Abril | May 5, 2021
Despite the shift to all online set-up, respective party chairperson of Students’ Union for Reforms (SURE) and Concerted Action for the Upliftment of Students’ Endeavors (CAUSE) parties said the SUSG virtual election systems were not compromised with voter’s turnout and called the election ‘fair and success.’
On the recent online voting through SOUL website, the SUSG Committee on Elections reported an increase of voter turnout compared to the last four years. With 8, 894 total number of voters, SUSG COMELEC tallied a 55.5% turnout rate and 44.5% absentee voters this year.
“The election was a success. As we look at the voter turnout, it was higher than previous years. The more students who participate in our SUSG elections, the more voices will be heard through the exercise of the right of suffrage. Democracy in the SUSG will always prevail,” said Amiel Andrew Arañez of the SURE party.
Roela Denisse Rallos of the CAUSE party said that using the SOUL website for voting was efficient and convenient for students and considered it a factor in voter turnout.
She said that SUSG COMELEC was ‘responsive regarding concerns and queries’ for both parties during the entire election processes, and suggested that the voting information could have reached more students considering that there are still students who ‘don’t know where and how to vote.’
However, both of the said party chairpersons were convinced to continue the practice of virtual elections next year, as another method for the students to cast their votes and secure safety.
“I think we should still push through with having the campaign online. If there is still the risk of COVID-19 [being] present next year, I wouldn’t want to put our running representatives and SBs at risk. I want to put their overall health first before actually doing it face-to-face,” said Rallos.
Arañez added that as the national government tries to adopt systems that would ensure ‘more active participation’ of Filipinos in elections. “In the SUSG we should adopt ways to increase student participation, and as evident in the voter turnout, the use of this virtual election is beneficial to both the COMELEC and the students,” he said.
For him, the assembly should also further study ‘all possible aspects of this form of elections’ to secure and protect the ballots of the students.
At the same time, Rallos cited that it was ‘good’ that there was no manual counting of votes, which may have the tendency of ‘human-error’.
“The official results were immediately obtained at a speedy pace compared with previous years. The shift in the use of modern day technology in the conduct of our elections paved the way for cost and time saving mechanisms that could be implemented in the future, regardless if it would be online class, face to face class, or blended learning,” Arañez ended.
They reiterated that SUSG COMELEC ensured a fair and successful election. Also, the virtual elections’ cross checking of votes and declaration of winners were immediately live streamed after the 11 hours of voting time.