The St. Thomas Students’ Union spring election saw 553 students come out to vote, 23.17 per cent of the university’s population. This is only slightly lower than last year which had 23.6 per cent of the population voting. And the year before that had a voting population of 22.9 per cent, which was considered high.
Justin Creamer, chief returning officer, says the highest turnout for a spring election was roughly 26 per cent. The by-election he oversaw in the fall had a turnout of 4 per cent.
“I think the key issues that encouraged people to come out were we had very interesting candidates for every position.
There were very strong candidates for president. We had quite a variety of candidates for off-campus representatives. There was a nice variety in valedictorian and grad class president too. People kind of took more interest because it wasn’t the default, there’s only one person running, vote yes or no,” Creamer said.
He says a lot of students were interested particularly in the presidential candidacy because John Hoben was looking for re-election, while Elizabeth Murphy and Dallas Power had never been an executive on council. Murphy won with 338 votes. Hoben had 132 votes and Power had 62 votes. Last year, Hoben was elected president over Emily Sheen by 24 votes. The year before that Mark Livingstone became president over Ella Henry by 23 votes.
Creamer says the number of residence students who voted was the highest recorded at 40.23 per cent. For off-campus students, 17.19 per cent voted.
Out of the residence students, first years voted the most, then second years, third years, and fourth years voted the least. Of the off-campus students, third years voted the most, then fourth years, second years, and first years.
“I was really glad the first years in residence were interested in the elections. People who tend to vote in the STUSU elections first year tend to become repeating voters, so they’ll vote in the next year’s election and the year after that. Making sure you have a strong first year voting basis is key,” Creamer said.
Creamer says it took longer than expected to get the results out the night of the election because there was supposed to be online voting and he only found out six days prior that it wouldn’t be happening. He also had one less poll clerk than expected.
“We tried to get it done as fast as we could but it took us until about 12, 12:30 at night,” Creamer said.
Emily Sheen will be the vice president of administration next year, receiving 401 yes votes and 73 no votes. Luke Robertson will be the vice president of education, receiving 442 yes votes and 84 no votes. Natasha Glober was elected as the vice president of student life with 221 votes. Henri Thibeau had 186 and Justin Brown had 94.
Amanda Poitras received 383 votes and Ryan Vienneau received 300 votes to become Student Senators. Elizabeth Strange had 233 votes.
Chance White will be the member-at-large representative with 296 votes over Lindsay Kingston with 109 votes and Cecilia Asbridge with 86 votes.
The three off-campus representatives will be Megan Aiken, 190 votes, Rodrigo Flores, 179 votes, and Colin Leahy, 137 votes. Corey Thomas had 117 votes and Jeremy Altman had 83.
Steven Butler will be next year’s grad class president with 79 votes over Amanda Bird, who had 58. This year’s valedictorian will be Victoria Blakely with 43 votes. Fin Mackay-Boyce had 38, Rosalynn Alessi had 30, and Juliana Duque had 16.
Both the referendum questions were voted in. The students’ union will change to a system of preferential voting through the single transferable vote system. The union will also add an Emergency Bursaries Policy, a new staff position and a $13 annual fee.