Nearly as many voters cast ballots for the Michigan Student Assembly yesterday than during the entire Fall 2001 election, showing an increased interest in student government.
As of 11:30 last night 5,569 students had voted in the elections, according to turnout statistics provided by Election Director Collin McGlashen. Voters cast 5,104 ballots for the Michigan Student Assembly, 3,747 for the LSA Student Government and 870 for the University of Michigan Engineering Council.
These numbers surpass the total turnout of the Fall 2001 student government elections, during which 5,924 students voted for MSA candidates, 3,845 for the LSA-SG, and 1,536 for the UMEC.
“The parties have done a tremendous job of getting people to vote,” McGlashen said.
He added that the amount of votes shows students realize MSA is important and has the potential to be an influential student body.
This election’s results are not an aberration, Alok Agrawal, election director for the record-setting Winter 2000 elections, said. Each year new parties, which are generally more energetic in terms of campaigning, are formed and voters become more aware of the elections, he said.
The number of students who logged on to the University’s election Website to cast online ballots was so massive that the server malfunctioned for 20 minutes, McGlashen said.
He added that according to past election trends, students can expect to see a fairly constant turnout this afternoon, followed by a final voting surge as candidates conduct final door-to-door campaigns.
Kinesiology sophomore Rich Wallace, who cast his ballot yesterday afternoon, said he was well informed about when and how to vote due to campaigning and mass e-mails sent early yesterday morning by candidates.
“It took two seconds to do and as a student I want to try to get what’s best for the University,” he said.
Other students said they were not so well informed about the election process and each party’s platform.
LSA sophomore Aliya Chowdhri said she planned to vote for the only candidates who described their ideas to her through e-mails sent this week. But LSA sophomore Marwa al Nasa’a said she will not vote because no candidates tried to individually explain their ideas to her except in the Diag.