Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

SGA Senate blocks 48-hour voting window despite student testimonies

CW / Hannah Grace Mayfield

The SGA Senate voted down a bill Thursday that would extend the SGA elections voting window to 48 hours. 

Currently, the voting window is 12 hours and runs from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on myBama each SGA election day. The Senate voted against the bill despite resounding support from students who attended the meeting. Eighteen students addressed the Senate, speaking unanimously in favor of lengthening the window. 

“Days where I’m gone more than 12 hours are the norm rather than the exception,” Aidan Moncelle, a senior mechanical engineering major, said. “If you truly believe in the mission of the SGA, to hear our voices, this is a simple way to do that.” 

College of Arts and Sciences Sen. Eyram Gbeddy authored the bill but said he wasn’t surprised that the majority of the Senate rejected it.  

“I kind of knew from day one filing this bill it would take a miracle to pass it,” Gbeddy said. Gbeddy alleged that the Machine opposed the bill and told some senators to vote against it. The Machine, officially known as Theta Nu Epsilon, is a select coalition of traditionally white fraternities and sororities designed to influence campus policies. 

In an Op-Ed in The Crimson White, a previous Machine member described being told how to vote in the Senate.  

College of Arts and Sciences Sen. Eleanor Israel sponsored Gbeddy’s bill, and she agreed that the Machine had influenced the vote. 

“I think it’s really obvious from the pro-con speeches that the reason it was shot down was because it’s inconvenient for the Machine to have a longer voting period,” Israel said.  “More voting means more people that can vote against the Machine.” 

Israel alleged that the Machine’s influence is a recurring issue in the Senate, and that the group essentially controls the Senate. 

“If there’s something that’s a good idea and it doesn’t disadvantage the Machine it usually goes through pretty easy,” Israel said. “But if it can be construed to make it harder for the Machine to stay in control, it’s just not going to happen.” 

Senators who opposed the bill said that an expanded voting window was unnecessary and could potentially increase campaign violations.  

“Extending this to 48 hours is going to lead to extra campaigning past the campaign period,” said Culverhouse College of Business Sen. Chloe Pickle. “Forty-eight hours I feel is going to lead to a lot of unfair turnout.” 

Culverhouse College of Business Sen. Jenni Page also spoke against the bill, saying she supported initiatives to increase turnout but not Gbeddy’s method. 

“I think we can all agree that voter turnout is important, and it’s something we should be striving to increase,” Page said. “But I do think that there are other ways to go about it that would be better addressing the root problem.” 

Page and other opposing senators suggested increased promotion of elections and an increase of the voting window to 24 hours as potential solutions. 

Gbeddy called the bill his passion project and said that he’d been working on it for years. 

“Ever since I ran my first SGA race as a freshman, I ran on a voter expansion bill,” Gbeddy said. “It’s really disheartening I wasn’t able to accomplish that.” 

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