A.S. voting turnout soars to 20 percent

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

This year’s Associated Students election marked the highest voter turnout rate in A.S. history with 6,056 votes, up from last year’s total of 4,221 votes.

“I would say one of the biggest reasons (for the turnout) was that it was very competitive this year,” elected A.S. President Jamie Miller said. “Everyone who was running for the executive positions was a very strong candidate.”

Miller also said increased marketing efforts by the A.S. Marketing and Communications Committee and the A.S. Elections Committee were likely a large reason for the increase.

“They really did a great job making sure everyone was aware,”  she said. “They made T-shirts, videos, and they were constantly posting on social media about the elections.”

The increase in A.S. voting appears to be a continuing trend. In 2014, there were only 2,916 votes counted, making up less than 10 percent of the general student body. This year, 20 percent of the student population voted.

The increased interest in student government was reflected in the turnout for the announcement of A.S. election results on Thursday, March 17.

The event welcomed hundreds of excited students who came out to support their chosen candidates, many wearing T-shirts with candidate names on them. Several of the candidates themselves were circling the room, thanking people for their support.

The campaigns lasted approximately two weeks, and included a series of debates, moderated by The Daily Aztec. Candidates also spoke about their platforms to several
on-campus organizations in an attempt to win endorsements.

The event was scheduled to begin at approximately 8 p.m., but didn’t start until nearly an hour later thanks to some
last-minute tallying.

The Elections Committee called the meeting to order and announced the results, beginning with the A.S. University Council Representatives and leading up to the executive board results.

The A.S. President result was the last announcement of the night. With 2,687 votes, or 48.5 percent, Miller was the elected A.S. President for  2016-17. The roar was deafening as a crowd swarmed around Miller, who was standing to the side of the room with her brother.

“It’s been the biggest roller coaster of my life,” an emotional Miller said. “It was very overwhelming. I’m not usually a crier, but there were lots of tears happening. It was very exciting, I was very relieved for the election process to come to a conclusion.”

Miller will be serving the SDSU community along with elected Executive Vice President Patty Masengale, Vice President of External Relations Dylan Colliflower, Vice President of Financial Affairs Alex Shapiro and Vice President of University Affairs Chimezie Ebiriekwe.

It was a close race for all of the executive positions. Masengale received 57.6 percent of the vote, Colliflower received 52.2 percent, Shapiro received 53.8 percent and Ebiriekwe received 51.7 percent.

Miller and Masengale campaigned with the “Empower SDSU” slate, while Colliflower, Shapiro and Ebirekwe ran with “A.S. for All.” Miller said though the candidates ran with different slates, she is confident they will work well together since both groups had similar goals.

“I think we all had similar visions for what we want to see on campus,” she said. “There were two big things, one is looking at A.S. internally and making sure we’re the best organization possible, and we’re holding our members accountable. And the other one is outreach, making sure campus organizations feel supported by A.S. and that we understand what they want to see from us.”

After the election results, Miller said she went home to her sorority house, where her sisters were waiting for her.

“I opened the door and they all screamed and ran over to give me a hug,” Miller said. “They’ve been really supportive throughout this whole process. It was honestly unforgettable.”

Other election results included seats on the A.S. campus life councils and A.S. university councils.

Complete results are available at thedailyaztec.com.