The introduction of Oleville.com also played a role in increased voting by allowing students laptops to serve as their voting booths. Siems stated that Oleville.com not only provided quick vote-counts, but it gave students the convenience of voting from their rooms. Furthermore, Oleville.com reduced the need to wait around in lines. Its also nice to not have to count ballots by hand, Siems said.
Not only was there an increase in voter turnout this year, but there was an increase in the number of candidates running. According to Siems, most years there are not enough candidates running to hold primaries; this year witnessed primaries for both the president/vice-president and Student Alumni Association (SAA) races. There was ample turnout for these primaries as well, though 290 fewer students voted in the primaries than in the final elections.
The winners for all positions in the final election were: Tyler Hauger 08 and Ishanaa Rambachan 08 for president and vice president, respectively; Laura Groggel 08 for PAC; Keshia Hohenstein 08 for Student Activities Coordinator (SAC); Justin Heebsh 08 and John Snetting 08 for Pause Coordinators; Katie Hellen 08 for SAA; Magdalena Wells 08 for Board of Regents Student Committee (BORSC); Victor Wong 08 for Volunteer Network (VN); Trisha Salkas 09 for Diversity Celebrations Committee (DCC); and Shoshana Blank 10 for Student Organizations Committee (SOC).
Many students seemed to attribute these candidates success to their very visible campaign. Emily Vigne 09 said that she gave her vote to Hauger and Rambachan because their campaigning was not in-your-face, but was creative, concise and got the point across.
John Bergan 08 was impressed with the candidates scope of government and student activity involvement, but also applauded their creativity. They had that cool tent, he said. That was intense.
Siems acknowledged that visible campaigning from all of the candidates, whether posters or sidewalk chalk, drew in the voters.
Candidates said that they found the campaign itself to be a valuable experience. Rambachan, the newly elected vice president, stated that it was great to be so supported by friends, and Hauger said that to be placed in a bracket of people of that caliber was truly humbling.
Karl Olson 08, a candidate in the presidential race, said that he developed a great friendship and wonderful working style with his running mate Maren Anderson 09, and that they both valued the opportunity to engage in honest and sincere conversations with students around campus.
Wong said that voter turn-out was great, though he wished more people had turned out to the forums in order to learn about candidates platforms.
Those newly elected now look ahead with excitement to the coming year. Groggel stated the she is excited to be working with students who want to bring political awareness to campus.
Even though the new terms do not begin until June, there is work to be done. Our first deadlines are already coming up in March, Rambachan said.