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UISG election sees record voter turnout

BY CARLY MATTHEW | APRIL 14, 2015 5:00 AM

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Students flocked to the polls, or rather their computers, to vote in the recent University of Iowa Student Government election.

Approximately 30 percent of UI undergraduates, or 6,278 out of 20,864, voted in the close contest between the BEACH and REAL Parties.

That number is the second highest since the UI began keeping records on student voting.

The REAL Party executive candidates Liz Mills, president-elect, and Morgan Brittain, vice president-elect, ultimately won the close race by 278 votes, just under a 4.5 percent margin.

The BEACH Party won more seats in the Senate.

“It was awesome to be part of an election that had the second-highest overall voter turnout,” BEACH candidate for president Sam Wampler said.

Wampler said he believes many students voted because of the diversity presented to students on the tickets.

For example, he said, many candidates were leaders in various organizations on campus, members of numerous colleges, and were of different ethnicities.

In addition, the platforms of both parties had a major focus on diversity.

In the 2014 UISG election, where only one ticket participated, only 2,396 or short of 12 percent of undergrads voted.

In 2012 and 2013, when two parties participated, turnout was just over 24 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Wampler said the numbers last year were embarrassing, driving many candidates to campaign harder this year.

“I just think people were looking to be informed this election,” Brittain said.

He said students sought out information on the platforms and issues that could affect them.

Another possible reason for the increase in the number of voters, he said, could be that the election was contested and two parties were involved.

“Both parties are definitely responsible,” Brittain said.

Over the past 10 years, an average of around 25 percent of the students have voted in each election.

Eric Welter, the UISG election commissioner, said one of the biggest differences he observed was the election being “a tossup from start to finish,” especially with many of the candidates having extensive experience on student government.

“I think the main reason was how hotly contested the election was,” he said.


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