Action Party wins UISG election

BY ALLIE WRIGHT | APRIL 08, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Action Party presidential ticket won the University of Iowa Student Government elections in a landslide — with 100 percent of the votes, to be exact.

“[I’m] very, very happy,” said UISG President-elect Elliot Higgins. “Honored is the better word.”

More than 3,000 votes were cast in this year’s election — more than 15 percent of the undergraduate population. Higgins and Vice President-elect Brittany Caplin were the lone contenders for the top two spots to serve during the 2011-2012 school year.

Caplin said she felt “phenomenal” after the victory as she received applause and hugs from UISG senators.

Collectively, the Action Party presidential ticket received 2,341 votes. The overall 3,000 voting number is nearly double the amount of students who voted last year, but it’s roughly half the number from 2008. Since 1993, there were only two years — 2010 and 2011 — with only one party.

The pair of UI juniors said they will now pick the members of their executive board, follow up with administration and work to execute the goals of their platform. Their plans include working to allow students to charge items and services from downtown businesses to their U-bills, expand Nite Ride, and advocate for lower alcohol-related fines.

As the current UISG liason to the Iowa City City Council, Higgins recently asked councilors to consider reducing the fine for being caught in a bar underage after 10 p.m. The council agreed to address the issue at a July meeting.

Higgins and Caplin said they have met with the president of the University of Iowa Community Credit Union to discuss possible details of their U-bill plan.

UISG President John Rigby said both Caplin and Higgins are hard workers and with much experience. Rigby noted he believes the U-bill idea is possible “with good, hard work and dialogue.”

But UI officials said attaining this goal will be a difficult feat. Both Tom Rocklin, the UI vice president for Student Services, and Dean of Students David Grady, said there will be many logistical problems in setting up this kind of system.

Rocklin noted setting up a system that would allow the charges to get back to the student’s U-bill system in a secure fashion could be a complex process.

“I think it’s going to be challenging, and I told [Higgins] and [Caplin] that there were a lot of potential complexities,” Rocklin said.

But both noted many of the other campaign goals are much more feasible.

“[Higgins] is a bright guy, and I look forward to working with both [him] and [Caplin],” Grady said.

Elaborating on another platform item, Caplin said UISG will work with IMU Marketing to implement a website that will allow students to rate their landlords and management companies, similar to Ratemyprofessor.com.

Gordon Sonnenschein, director of the Student Elections Board, said he credits voter turnout to the efforts of the campaigns, an increase in undergraduate enrollment, and candidate involvement in student organizations.

UI senior Xavier Woodson received the most votes for UISG senator with 815 — nearly 27 percent of the votes. Only five of the 44 senator candidates who ran weren’t selected.

“I’ve had a good experience every year,” said Woodson, who has served three terms in the senate.

He said he will concentrate on promoting safety on campus and work to increase night transportation and lighting.

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