April 12, 2016, 9:55p.m. – AFTER a series of election failures, the Conservatory of Music has improved voter turnout in local student council elections in the past three years.

In 2011 and 2012, Music declared election failures due to low voter turnout. But student council elections in 2014 and 2015 saw Music recording higher voter turnouts.

Voter turnout reached only 23 percent or 157 voters out of 671 students in 2011. In 2012, voter turnout reached 22.15 percent or 144 voters out of 650 students.

Last year, Music registered a voter turnout of 52.17 percent, or 360 voters out of 690 students. This was higher than the 2014 voter turnout of 50.39 percent or 319 voters out of 633 students.

The UST Students’ Election Code of 2011 requires a college or faculty to attain at least a 25-percent voter turnout, otherwise failure of election would be declared.

Demie Fresco, Music Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairwoman, blamed apathy and conflict in class schedules for the low number of voters.

“[Music students] weren’t involved that much when it came to politics,” Fresco told the Varsitarian in an interview. “If there’s no push from the Comelec or within their interests, hindi ma-achieve ang voter turnouts in the present compared with the failure of elections [years ago].”

Fresco added it was difficult to get hold of Music students during election periods because of the different schedules. “Iba-iba nang schedules lahat and some students come to school once a week na lang for a certain subject,” she said.

Block sectioning is only implemented among first-year Music students. Afterwards, they are clustered according to the courses they take.

Fresco however said the increase in Music Comelec members resulted in higher voter turnout.

Central Comelec Vice Chairperson Raymond John Naguit recalled that in the past years, Music’s poll body only had few members. It even reached a point when the chairman was the sole active member.

“We really had to recruit last year and fortunately, `yung mga na-recruit, mga committed talaga,” Naguit said in a text message.

Fresco said she was hopeful this year’s voter turnout would increase from last year. According to the Music Dean’s Office, 680 students are enrolled in the Conservatory. Paul Xavier Jaehwa C. Bernardo


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