The student body presidential elections divided students’ votes and opinions almost in half, but Carlos Morgan ended up tipping the scales with a slim 34 votes.
The final numbers boiled down to 680 votes for Morgan and 646 votes for Mazie Ludlow. Gregory Layton and Brandon Lewis were elected unanimously into the positions for vice president of academics and vice president of clubs and organizations, respectively, with 1,326 votes each.
Morgan, a junior communication major from Santa Clara, said he was proud of the way his campaign was run, and he emphasized that he couldn’t take all the credit for his success.
“There were so many people on board,” he said. “It really was an effort of everybody that I know and everybody that they know and everybody that they know.”
Morgan said his goal between now and the time he’s sworn in is to start finding the best students available to fill his executive council. He said it’s not the type of government that will have just one type of demographic; he wants to find the best and most diverse people available.
That could even include Morgan’s opponent.
“If she is the best one for whatever position she applies for, then yes,” Morgan said about potentially including Ludlow in his 2013-14 team.
Ludlow, a junior communication major from Turlock, Calif., said the loss was bittersweet.
“It was great to see the support that I had,” she said. “That was a really nice feeling. At the same time, it was really hard to see how close I was without actually making it there. I sometimes wonder if it just would have been easier to have had a landslide loss.”
She said she’s gauging the loss on a more positive scale because of the numbers of students who voted this year. She said it shows students are being more proactive about their student government.
“And (it’s) not only the students,” she said. “[The turnout] is yet again another example of the increase of student involvement due to our current executive council.”
She said she’s considering many options in lieu of being president, but she hasn’t given serious thought to where she’d like to be next year. She did say she wants to serve the school in some capacity, though.
This year’s voter turnout was larger than years’ past, despite two of the candidates running unopposed. The DSU Student Association is equating this with the option to vote online.
DSUSA Chief Justice Rhett Sullivan, a senior communication major from Hurricane, said this is the second year students have been allowed to vote online, and he thinks the ease of access is making for a better election process.
“It went really well,” he said. “I believe it’s the highest (number of votes) it ever has been.”
Sullivan said the DSUSA didn’t set any specific goals as far as voter numbers were concerned, but the jump in numbers was indeed significant. Only 889 students voted in the spring 2012 elections.
The increased turnout could be due to some leniency given to the candidates this year when asking for student support.
Sullivan said candidates were allowed to approach students this year with mobile devices and ask them to vote on-the-spot, something that wasn’t allowed last year.
“We didn’t let them go off campus and do that, but on campus we let them bring their [mobile devies to the voters],” he said. “I think we’re still just making adaptions. We’re trying to find the right regulation for [online voting].”
Dollar caps dropped
Although the VP positions were uncontested, both candidates said they didn’t skimp on the campaigning, although it could have seemed that way.
Layton, a junior English major from Cottonwood Heights, was asked during the debates by an audience member about his lack of signage around the school. Layton said that, since he was running unopposed, he didn’t want to “waste the school’s money” on campaign posters.
“I don’t think it would have been wise for me [to do that] if I were running against someone,” Layton said. “I would obviously need some sort of campaign material, but that was a decision I thought was necessary.”
Lewis, a junior communication major from Coalville, was asked the same question at last week’s debates about his decision to hang large posters despite his having an uncontested campaign.
Lewis said he chose to put the money into the campaign because he wanted students to get to know him and “get his face out there,” so students would know who to go to with questions or concerns about clubs and organizations.
The DSUSA provided the option to pay for an equal amount of posters for each candidate, but the limit on a candidate’s personal spending was lifted this year.
“We wanted to give each candidate the opportunity to do their campaign how they wanted to,” Sullivan said. “We took away caps on money that they could use, and we just wanted to give them the freedom. Last year, [the DSCSA] set up [videos] for them and hung their signs up for them. This year, we just put it into their hands and let them do it.”
Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership, said some of the election bylaws were altered since last year to accomodate these changes and better reflect an actual political process.
“If someone’s going to bust their butt and go out and get donations and have people rallying around them, we don’t want to punish them for that,” Sharp said.
Sharp said last year’s DSCSA’s attempt to equalize the playing field meant candidates’ strengths weren’t necessarily showing.
“We did their designs, their videos, their posters, so for a student walking around campus, everything looked great,” he said. “They didn’t know who really spent more time on their campaign and who put a lot of thought into it.”
From now until then
The president and vice presidents elect are beginning to focus on the upcoming fall semester.
Layton said he’s planning on getting a head start on next year’s duties by hunting for exemplary students.
“I’m going to start talking to [the department heads] to see if they have any recommendations for students who would be great at being a senator,” Layton said. “I’m not just looking for students who are academically talented; I’m looking for students who can go out and build relationships with students in their similar field of study so [the students] can feel comfortable coming to [the senators].”
Lewis’ plans for preparation are similar to Layton’s, and, in fact, include him.
“I’m going to be following Greg for the next little while,” Lewis said. “I’m going to see how bills will be working, and of course, I’ll continue working and fulfilling my duties as a club representative. And we’re all going to be learning what’s expected of us and what we need to be doing during our summer internships.”
And Morgan is keeping his eye out for the student leaders who will take the reigns in the fall.
“Between now and when I’m [sworn in], my goal is to find the people in the different positions who are best qualified as we transition into this new year and this new experience as a university,” he said. “I, and everyone who hops on board next year, [am] going to make it the best year that Dixie has ever had.”