HOUSE Party wins ASUU elections
Chatting clusters of students squeezed together between the front desk and women selling Girl Scout Cookies in the Union lobby when ASUU elections registrar Maria Mooers-Putzer began to announce the result of the ASUU student body election Friday. After the final announcement declaring the HOUSE Party winners of the presidential election some student cheered and clapped, others hugged and cried.
HOUSE Party presidential candidate Nick Ferre, a master’s student in education, leadership and policy, and vice presidential candiadate Sam Ortiz, a senior in social work, won with 2,742 votes over the Peak Party candidates Cheston Newhall, a senior in political science, and Bridger Harris a junior in marketing, with 2,501 votes; a difference of 241.
“We knew it was going to be very close,” Ferre said.
The HOUSE party was projecting that a high voter turn out would give the party a better chance of winning the election.
Ferre said the HOUSE Party engaged student groups that are normally not involved with student elections such as the Veteran’s Student Association and student advisory committees. He said this helped increase voter turn out.
“We really energized those groups to help them realize the value of their voice as much as anyone else’s,” he said.
Ferre’s first priority is to hire a staff and to hire students from groups that are not traditionally involved. He said this is just a start to what he wants to accomplish next year.
“What we really want to focus on is making sure that the image of ASUU is that of a service oriented group that we are here truly here to serve our students and our student organizations to make their programs as successful as possible,” he said.
Newhall, Peak Party presidential candidate, said he thought the election could have gone either way.
“Honestly I came in today with an open mind. I could have seen it either way win or loose. I know we felt pretty confident going on but still in the back of my mind HOUSE ran a phenomenal campaign and I know they’ll do a great job,” he said.
Next year Newhall will still be involved with the marching band, the Kappa Sigma fraternity and the student alumni board.
“Between those three things I’ll still be plenty involved and this does not change my feeling toward the university or anything,” he said.
HOUSE candidate Kendahl Melvin, a junior in political science and international studies, won the senior class president race over Peak Party candidate Silvia Potempa, a junior in marketing, by a margin of 228 votes earning 1,274 votes to Potempa’s 1,046 votes.
“The thing I am actually most excited about, besides winning, is that this was one of the biggest voter turnouts since 2004,” Melvin said. “It’s an honor to be part of that effort.”
She said one of her priorities is to maintain the traditions as the U as well as introduce new ones.
“But, most importantly I want to make sure that more students know about student government, so I really want to address the incoming freshman. I want to work [so] that all incoming freshman know what ASUU is and how they can be involved,” she said.
The voter turnout in the election was 5,578, or 17 percent, of the student population. This is the highest turnout since 2004 according to Mooers-Putzer, a law student.
“I am really happy with it,” she said. “I know [the parties] put in a lot of time, but honestly it is not the really complicated things that get votes. It’s just being visible and being accessible to people and being able to explain your platform well and I think both campaigns did a really good job.”
The HOUSE Party took a majority of seats in the assembly of earning 28 and leaving 20 for Peak. Neither party ran candidates for the college of nursing or college of pharmacy. In the university college race Jeremy Park and Ryan Livermore, both of the Peak Party, tied. Jeremy Park was declared the winner by a coin toss. Bryan Doom of the Peak Party beat Stuart Johnson of the HOUSE Party by one vote for a college of business seat.
In senate races the parties each won eight seats. The closest races were the college of humanities race between Megan Dolle of the HOUSE Party and Tara Streng of the Peak Party which was decided 251 to 245 in favor of Dolle, and in the college of business Michael Harris of the HOUSE Party beat Eduardo Grajeda of the Peak party 222 to 212.
The referendum to amend the ASUU Constitution and make the ASUU attorney general an elected position rather than appointed position, lower the amount of colleges needed to ratify constitutional changes from 75 percent to 50 percent plus one and clarify other language in the constitution paseed 4965 to 405. Molly Wheeler, the only candidate running for the newly created attorney general position, received 4,259 votes.
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