Closed polls mark new beginnings for ASUU

By By Rochelle McConkie

By Rochelle McConkie

The end of the student government elections on March 15 also marked the beginning of a new Associated Students of the University of Utah administration for the upcoming year, with the FUSE Party leading the way in all presidential and legislative races.

FUSE presidential candidate Spencer Pearson and vice presidential candidate Basim Motiwala beat Forward Party candidates Rick Pehrson and Clayton McDonald by 526 votes, receiving 54 percent of the votes.

Forward received 39 percent of the votes, and the remaining 7 percent were cast for write-in candidates.

Results for the ASUU elections were announced March 15 at the Rock the U dance marathon. Pearson and Motiwala expressed excitement and a desire to begin working after the news of their victory.

Pehrson said he was grateful for the opportunity to run and associate with great people during the elections. He said he supports Pearson and Motiwala and is excited to see what comes next year.

Sweeping most of the Senate and General Assembly races, FUSE took 13 of the 16 Senate seats and 34 of the 48 Assembly seats.

The Forward Party won three Senate positions and 13 General Assembly positions. Megan Bitner of the College of Humanities was the only independent candidate to win an Assembly seat.

In the race for senior class president, FUSE candidate Nicole Nguyen won with 813 votes, beating Forward’s Brittany Bell, who received 503 votes and More 4 U’s Megan Maxfield, who came in third with 308 votes.

Although fewer students voted in the ASUU general elections than in the primaries, Elections Registrar Lorraine Evans said she is pleased with the voter turnout because it is higher than last year’s.

“You always wish you could get half the school to vote?but I’m happy about the work we put into (the elections), to say the least,” Evans said.

In this year’s ASUU elections, 3,672 students voted as compared to the 3,461 who voted last year. This number was down from the 4,307 students who voted in the primaries.

Evans said more students usually vote when there are more parties running, and often lose interest once their party is out of the race, thus accounting for the voting drop from the primaries to general elections.

Although the job of elections registrar was harder than she expected, Evans said she believes the elections were a success.

“It had been a long time since we had four parties running that were so organized, so passionate and so competent,” Evans said. “Every party would have done a great job in ASUU.”

Pehrson said he is confident that Pearson and Motiwala will choose executive cabinet members from all four parties that ran.

“Spencer and Basim have an amazing opportunity ahead of them-the great opportunity to pick from each campaign the most effective individuals for the executive cabinet,” Pehrson said. “We have the potential to see the best (executive cabinet) ASUU has seen in years.”

Pearson, Motiwala and Nguyen will be inaugurated into office on April 27. Until then, they will begin preparations for next year.

“In the next week or two, we will be sitting down and analyzing goals of the past years and go through each board one by one to prioritize and set up goals for each board and goals for ASUU as a whole,” Pearson said.

Applications for executive cabinet positions and board positions will be forthcoming.