Grassroots Party springs to victory

Hours upon hours of peddling bagels, hot chocolate, CDs, two-for-one burger coupons, hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and cookies for votes apparently paid off for the Grassroots Party, which defeated the RE: Party 2,936 votes to 2,181.

Vice president-elect Bobby Harrington said all the handouts were secondary in importance to talking with U students.

“Campaigns are not won on handouts…You can have 40,000 of them, but if you don’t have one person there connecting with another, they’re useless,” he said. Harrington attributed the victory to “the Grassroots approach.”

“It was working with one individual at a time, focusing on the individual,” he said.

As part of their approach, president-elect Alex Lowe and Harrington arrived at the U as early as 6 a.m. to speak with students and didn’t leave until midnight during the campaign, which may have had something to do with Lowe’s fever of 101 degrees at one point during the ordeal.

Lowe, Harrington and a number of other Grassroots supporters are headed to Palm Springs, Calif., now to “relax,” catch up on some homework and perhaps console Jessica Rogers, who lost to Sara Hogan for senior class president by a mere 50 votes.

“It’s a heartbreaker,” Lowe said. “She was a vital part of this movement. We could not love or respect anyone more.”

Rogers couldn’t quite fight back the tears when her roommates began gathering around her.

“Don’t cry, you guys!” she said as she moved to embrace them. Though the Grassroots Party was saddened by Rogers’ defeat, Lowe said he is “excited for the perspective that Sara will bring to the administration.”

The Grassroots Party made a strong showing in the race for General Assembly and Student Senate representatives as well. Out of 64 delegate positions, the party filled 48 of them.

After Lowe and Harrington are inaugurated in late April, they plan to “get to work” and hope to implement their registration for involvement plan.

The plan would ask all registering students to indicate which student groups they would be interested in getting involved with and to submit their contact information.

The student groups would then be able to proactively seek out those students, instead of having the students go to them.

They have already spoken with some U administrators, but said they didn’t know when the plan would be activated.

More students voted this year than ever before, but primary vote totals exceeded final totals, which is an anomaly.

Kristen Smart, a member of the Associated Students of the University of Utah communications board, said she knew a lot of people who weren’t aware there were primary and final elections. The board’s goal was to beat the voter-turnout record of 5,983 set during the primaries, but came up short by a total of 309 votes.

“We’re not complaining, we just wish we could have beat the primaries’ [total],” Smart said.

There were more votes this year in both the primaries and finals than ever before in the history of the online voting, as this year’s finals total was just behind the record set during the primaries, 5,690, which beat last year’s record by 2,066 votes.

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