Turnout stands at under 5% in day 1 of Sanggu polls

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AT THE end of day one of the Sanggunian General Elections, the Ateneo Commission of Elections (COMELEC) revealed a partial vote count of 304 out of COMELEC’s estimate of 6,500 eligible voters, corresponding to a turnout of about 4.5%.

According to COMELEC Chief Commissioner Dom Rañises, this count includes votes cast through the automated voting system as well as manual ballots issued in the polling stations. This does not include absentee ballots from students in their junior term abroad.

This is the second Sanggunian General Election since the implementation of the 2016 Undergraduate Constitution of the Loyola Schools which removed the quota for elections.

In comparison, 559 out of 8,270 eligible voters cast their votes for the first day of the Sanggunian elections last October 2016, corresponding to a turnout of roughly 6.8%. At the end of the elections, 1,638 students voted or a turnout of 19.81%.

Business as usual

Overall, it was a quiet first day for the elections. Macneil Mendoza (3 AB DipIR), a poll watcher stationed at the Manuel V. Pangilinan (MVP) Center for Student Leadership lobby, reported that there were some graduating seniors who were surprised that they are not allowed to vote for the elections.

Lemuel Gomez (2 BS LifeSci), a poll watcher posted at Faura Hall, expected a voter turnout similar to that of the first day of last year’s General Election.

Besides these two venues, COMELEC set up voting stations at the New Rizal Library, Matteo Ricci Hall, Gonzaga Hall. Voting continues until Wednesday, March 29.

COMELEC’s promo mats

Meanwhile, COMELEC responded last Saturday to a complaint from Haygies Sunga requesting the commission to take down its tarpaulins from the grille near Gonzaga Hall. Sunga said that the red COMELEC banners promoting the election were similar to that of the political party Union of Students for the Advancement of Democracy (USAD).

“Aren’t the colors you should use in your promo materials supposed to be neutral from the political groups running in this year’s Sanggunian Elections?” Sunga asked.

In its post, COMELEC announced its decision not to remove the promotions, stating that the content of its own tarpaulins and USAD’s are “clearly distinguishable” and pointed out that there is “no known prohibition explicitly barring the Commission from making use of color schemes similar to those of accredited political parties.”

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