Michigan Student Assembly election polls closed last night, although the vote totals for individual candidates will not be official until the weekend.
But the LSA student government can be considered an early winner, due to a record voter turnout.
LSA-SG collected 4,977 votes during the two-day election period, breaking the previous record in the Winter 2000 election for ballots received by 595 votes, according to statistics provided by Election Director Collin McGlashen.
MSA also collected a high number of votes, with 6,858 ballots received, and 1,200 students voted in the University of Michigan Engineering Council election.
LSA-SG presidential candidate Monique Luse said the record turnout for LSA-SG is due primarily to the dedicated campaigning of candidates. “I think that those of us in LSA-SG who have campaigned have campaigned very hard,” she said.
In addition to being approached directly by more candidates, many students have realized what LSA-SG is and what it can do from the government’s involvement in projects like a survey on the consistency of graduate student instructors and the “Stop the Hate” campaign, Tronstein said.
Such exposure in turn influenced the vote total, LSA-SG presidential candidate Gwen Arnold said, because “just the fact that our name is out there more means more people will vote.”
Tronstein said the record turnout will force the election winners to focus on student issues and collect student feedback for LSA-SG projects, many of which advocate reform of academic programs in the College of Literature, Science and Arts.
MSA also enjoyed a high voter turnout this election. The 6,858 ballots received surpass last year’s number by 77 and was the second highest total ever, behind the election record of 7,840, set in the Winter 2000 elections.
In addition to the hours spent by candidates campaigning and urging people to vote, the high voter turnout may be due to the fact that three of the eight executive officer candidates – Students First candidates Sarah Boot and Dana Glassel, and independent presidential candidate Matt Stone – are members of fraternities or sororities.
Panhellenic Association President Monica Rose said all Greek community members are highly encouraged to vote by their chapters, but candidates in the Greek system have the advantage of being able to mobilize large numbers of voters.
“They have friends and contacts in a lot of the chapters. They did a great job promoting their individual parties,” Rose said. “You’ve got a really good base of people to go to for votes. When you’re really active in the Greek community, your name’s already out there.”
Barring any difficulties with the online voting Website, unofficial results announcing the winners of each election will be e-mailed to candidates today at noon, and these results will be confirmed by midnight on Sunday.