Student Action sweeps soundly
Date Added Friday, April 15, 2011 | 3:27 am
Last Updated Friday, April 15, 2011 | 3:28 am
Category: News > University > ASUC
The Student Action party not only swept four of the executive offices, but also firmly maintained its senate majority in the 2011 ASUC General Election when results were revealed Thursday evening.
Amid a flurry of tears, screams and excited embraces in the cramped quarters where the election results were tabulated, Student Action candidates Vishalli Loomba, Christopher Alabastro, Joey Freeman and Julia Joung learned they will assume the offices of president, executive vice president, external affairs vice president and academic affairs vice president, respectively. Independent candidate Samar Shah will become student advocate.
According to the Elections Council, voter turnout for undergraduate students was 44.7 percent and 5 percent for graduate students, with 91 percent of all votes being cast online. In total, 11,478 votes were cast.
"I'm just at a loss for words, it's so surreal," Loomba said shortly after her victory. "We worked so hard for it - we have so many great ideas and goals that we're ready to implement and we're just really excited to get started."
The executive winners said they will now spend their remaining time setting up their offices by speaking with current and former executives in the respective positions and getting their new staffs ready.
Per the ranked-choice voting system employed in the election, voters rank candidates in order of preference. After the calculation of the first-rank votes, the votes that would go to those who received the least number of votes are redistributed to whoever the voter had ranked as their second choice. This redistribution continues until there is a clear winner.
Each of the winning executives reached quota - some number more than half the votes that determines the winners - before any votes were redistributed.
"We definitely didn't come in here expecting to quota, all four of us, we were so nervous before we went in the room but then to see it one after another - it was so worth all the hard work," Joung said.
This year, the four Student Action executives ran without any competition from rival party CalSERVE, which chose not to run an executive slate - though it still ran senators - in this year's election in order to focus more on issues outside the ASUC.
However, current CalSERVE Senator Stefan Montouth did run for president as an independent, and though he said he was proud of the number of votes he was able to obtain, he acknowledged that having the backing of a slate could have improved his chances of winning in the end.
"It probably would have helped, because not everybody knows the back story of everything that's going on, so they probably just didn't know who to vote for," Montouth said.
In the senate, Student Action secured 11 of the 20 seats, while CalSERVE obtained 6. The SQUELCH! and Cooperative Movement third parties will each hold one seat, with one more seat being held by an independent - the identical makeup of this year's senate class.
Noah Ickowitz, representing the SQUELCH! party, accumulated the highest number of votes among senatorial candidates.
"What I want everyone else to get out of it for years to come, in a non-cocky way, is that I never handed out one flier," Ickowitz said. "I don't think I am anyone that's any more special than anyone else, I think that next year people should take away the lesson that everyone should go against the grain a little bit more."
Additionally, the "End the Sale of Bottled Water" initiative passed with 8,078 votes in favor, 1,511 against and 1,889 abstaining.
Cooperative Movement Senator Elliot Goldstein, a major proponent of the initiative, said he was happy to see it pass with such a healthy margin. Goldstein lost his bid for executive vice president, though he was reelected to serve in the senate.
J.D. Morris is the lead student government reporter. Contact him at [email protected]
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