After two weeks of super-charged campaigning and more than 2,400 votes cast, Max Cowan and Stetson Holman will be the 2015-2016 ASUI President and Vice President, respectively.
“It’s very emotional,” Cowan said, visibly tearing up. “It’s very stressful, but I’m very excited to do this again. There’s a lot of mixed emotion. I think that the other candidates did a fantastic job of campaigning and that I was very excited to get the chance to be here and run against them.”
The final number of votes was 2,403, more than 25 percent of the student body and double that of the usual voter turnout.
Cowan and Holman captured 1,003 votes, while current ASUI President Nate Fisher and running mate Katie Cramer’s ticket received 805 votes and Alejandra ‘Vivi’ Gonzalez and Izaiah Dolezal received 567 votes. Write-in candidates received the remaining 28.
“All the candidates did a great job,” said ASUI Elections Coordinator James Morrell. “They campaigned very well and I would say they put an equal amount of effort into it. It’s unfortunate that every election has to have a winner and loser, but I think moving forward we have what we need to be successful.”
Fisher said he fought a hard campaign and although he didn’t win, he has confidence in Cowan’s leadership.
“You win some, you lose some. Unfortunately, I did not win today,” Fisher said on his Facebook page. “I worked hard to represent students and to make the student experience a positive one. I am fully confident that Max Cowan and Stetson Holman will pick up where I left off and am excited to see how they will serve the UI and its students.”
Gonzalez said while she’s not sure if she’ll be in ASUI next semester, she still hopes to move forward with the goals she laid out in her platform.
“I think our goals can be worked through still, whether it’s creating bills or working for ASUI,” Gonzalez said. “I think it’s absolutely something that we still want to accomplish.”
Morrell said he hopes this year’s student body engagement sets a precedent for future ASUI elections.
“(The high voter turnout) was a mixture of the new voting system and the courageous efforts of the candidates during the election,” Morrell said.
For Cowan, who served as the 2013-2014 ASUI president, the high voter turnout was an indication that students were passionate about the election cycle this year.
“I’m glad there was such a high voter turnout,” Cowan said. “We had the opportunity to win this election by what I believe to be a strong showing of student support.”
Cowan and Holman said there was no lack of effort on their part during the campaigning season.
“We passed out over 5,000 handbills on campus,” Cowan said. “We knocked on the doors of apartment complexes, we went to over 50 student organizations, we visited residence halls and Greek houses, we sent 4,000 emails to students individually to ask them to vote, we sent messages to every single person who liked our Facebook page and Instagram, we were posting on Facebook and Instagram, and I think it’s a combination of all that that helped us win the election.”
Morrell said there was diversity in the voting pool as students from Greek houses, residence halls and off campus all participated in relatively high numbers. Greek students cast 873 ballots, off-campus students had 719, on-campus students had 562 and off-campus Greek students cast in 249 votes.
Morrell said ASUI elections have historically had low voter turnout, with each election usually capturing approximately 10-15 percent of the student population. His goal this election, he said, was to surpass 1,200 votes, a number the student body crushed on the first day of voting.
Now that Cowan has secured his second non-consecutive term as ASUI president, he said his first objective will be to hire a team of the best and brightest from across campus to serve in his cabinet.
For now, he said he plans to celebrate with those who supported him on the campaign trail.
“The whole aim of this campaign was to ensure that we earned the vote,” Cowan said. “That we didn’t believe we deserved it or that it was ours to begin with, that we would work hard enough to prove we earned that vote.”
Hannah Shirley can be reached at email@example.com.
[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]
The 2015-2016 ASUI senate-elects are Zachary Spence, Kailey Holt, Katelin Bartles, Kate Ricart, Austin Blacker, Lauren Markuson, Aran Burke and Joe Madsen.