Fall 2020 Student Government election received a record-breaking number of votes

Beyond Senate races, students overwhelmingly passed an internal reform referendum

Fall 2020 Student Government election received a record-breaking number of votes

Correction: The original version of this article misstated Brian Fu's former title.

This semester’s Student Government election yielded a record-breaking number of voters, with over 1,100 votes cast within the first day and a total of 1,329 by the time polls closed Thursday, said Sarah Gordon, SG elections commissioner. 

That’s a nearly 38 percent increase in votes from last fall’s election, which had only 966 votes. 

Beyond the senate races on the ballot, SG asked students to vote on a referendum to amend credit requirements for certain elected positions. The change addresses Article I of the SG constitution. 

“The following constitutional amendment ensures students who enter AU with college credits, or are in accelerated degree programs, have equal access to run for the class which they will graduate or affiliate with,” the amendment states.

The amendment proposal is a change from the original constitution, which mandated that a candidate “file a petition with the authority governing elections” if they wanted to run for a different class than specified by their credit standing. In the spring and summer, SG had internal disputes over how to classify students with varying levels of credit at the University, former SG Inspector Brian Fu told The Eagle.

Gordon said she finds that SG elections often mirror national politics; in this case, the high voter turnout reflects the amount of voters that have been counted so far for the general election.

“A lot more people were willing to open up,” said Gordon, about the candidates, most of whom transformed their platforms to cater to the fully-online election. “A lot more people were much more active in getting others involved, to the point where we saw this huge voter turnout.”

Sean-Matthew Flores, the chair of the Judicial Board, had similar thoughts. “I think [the voter turnout] speaks to the fact that ... the Class of 2024 has really mobilized, and is ready to get out there and get represented in AUSG and make a difference.”

The amendment passed with 97 percent of the vote, allowing for students to run for the class that they feel best represents their academic standing. 

“The amendment is definitely going to be for the better,” Gordon said. “It makes running for candidacy more accessible.”

“I think what this referendum and its passage would really seek to serve is more equal representation,” Flores said. “Also, to make sure that those who are in a different position academically in terms of credits are not at a disadvantage when compared to the normal credit allotment.” 

The process for voting experienced a technological disruption upon opening, Gordon said. There was no write-in option available, an error that occurred as a result of a glitch in CampusLabs, the forum used for voting. However, this was fixed roughly 30 minutes after the polls opened, Gordon said.

The senate and class council results are listed below:

  • Senators for the campus at-large: Ishita Jamar, Whitney Powers, Parthav Easwar, Max Rubin and Ryan Hale
  • Senators for the Class of 2024: Kayla Kelly, Jonathan Durham, Meron Washington, Andrew Useche and Atef Hachem
  • Senators for the Class of 2023: Adriana Doria, Jackson Mittleman, Ben Parsons and Brian Johnson 
  • Senators for the Class of 2022: Jorge Aponte Álvarez, Ashley Bastin, Andrew Gamble and Grace Gold
  • Senators for the Class of 2021: No candidates
  • Senator for SPA: Paul Relyea 
  • Senator for SIS: Zuby Chowdhury
  • Senator for CAS/SOE: No candidate 
  • Senator for SOC: Cody Rogers 
  • Senator for Kogod: No candidate 
  • Class of 2024 Council: President Stevie Early, Vice President Fabi Cruz, Treasurer Emily Brignand and Secretary Kyleigh Tatum

smattalian@theeagleonline.com, bjohansen@theeagleonline.com 

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