By Adam Baker/News editor

New faces will soon fill the Student Government Association.Every SGA position is contested this year with three candidates vying for SGA’s top spot: student body president and regent.

Tuesday campus will have the opportunity to select the next round of student leaders.

Traditionally, however, voter turnout for SGA elections is low.

Last year a little more than 1,000 students out of nearly 15,000 exercised their right to vote.

Mike Reagle, associate vice president of student affairs and SGA adviser, said Eastern’s election numbers echo local, state and national trends.

“Unfortunately as a society we tend to take our freedoms for granted,” he said. “We don’t recognize that the freedom to vote in these kinds of elections came at a cost. I hope that students will recognize this responsibility that they have and exercise this freedom.”

Reagle explained student government is an important part of the university.

“SGA is a primary opportunity for students to collaborate with university administrators in order to make Eastern the best it can be,” he said. “It is essential that students get out and vote for the candidates that they believe will work hard and operate with integrity.”

James Conneely, vice president of Student Affairs, said elections are a time students should take seriously.

“It is an opportunity to have a voice in the governance of the institution,” he said.

Progress records show 561 students voted in the 2002 election. Participation nearly doubled the next year, but Reagle said the only way to continue increasing voter turnout is by making students understand the importance of their vote.

“I think that the only way to change this is one student at a time,” he said.

Conneely said students need to understand the affect their decsion to vote can have on the university.

“When numerous students choose not to vote it does have a significant impact on electing a student that is representative of the student body,” he said. “Usually students will normally vote if they know someone in the election and that is positive, but all students should exercise their right to chose their student leaders.”

Reagle added he believes in the adage that once citizens give up their right to vote, they give up their right to complain later.

Students can vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday online at www.eku.edu

Reach Adam at adam_baker38@eku.edu