GUSA Senate Elections See Improved Turnout

428 students, or 5.63 percent of the student body, voted in the Georgetown University Student Association senate elections Thursday, an increase from last year’s special election’s 294 student turnout.

Habon Ali (SFS ’18) won the At-Large seat, Musa Bassey (COL ’18) won the Southwest Quad seat, Andrew Granville (MSB ’17) won the Village A seat, Andrew Tabas (SFS ’16) won the Townhouses seat, and Marcus Leanos (MSB ’17) won the Village B/Nevils seat. All open seats were filled.

The Townhouses and Village B seats were uncontested, while Southwest Quad had three candidates. Two candidates ran for the Village A seat and one candidate ran for the At-Large seat.

The townhouses saw the lowest turnout rate, with 13 voters, while the Southwest Quad saw the highest turnout with 54 voters.

GUSA Election Commissioner Alden Fletcher (SFS ’17) said both turnout and candidacy rates are typically low for upperclassmen districts.

“You definitely see a drop off in participation as you get to the districts that represent primarily upperclassmen,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said the election reform bill, which was recently passed by the GUSA senate and mandates the placement of three write-in slots on the ballot following this year’s last-minute addition of write-in slots to the executive ballot, did not have a significant impact on this election.

“So it’s good because now we actually have sort of a fixed amount, there’s no ambiguity about write-ins, how many can we have, so the election procedure’s been modified not during the middle of the election, which was primarily what we objected to during the exec,” Fletcher said. “The effect of having three on the ballot wasn’t a huge consequence, just because we had so few votes this election that it wasn’t an issue.”

Bassey wrote he was particularly disappointed by the low voter turnout.

“I’m humbled that the students found me to be the best candidate for this position. That being said, I’m disheartened by the turnout. Even if people had voted against me, I would have liked to see at least 60 percent turnout, not the abysmal level we got here,” Bassey wrote in an email to The Hoya (full disclosure: Bassey is a former columnist for The Hoya).

Bassey wrote that he hopes to advance GUSA’s image during his term.

“There are a good amount who are disillusioned because the organization operates more like a club than a representative, elected government. In my duration, I’d want to see more engagement of the student body going forward, as well as helping create the image of GUSA as a net good on campus,” Bassey wrote.

Tabas, who ran a spur-of-the-moment write-in campaign the day of the elections, said he hopes to get involved with the campus plan during his time in the senate.

“But then also I think people have been talking a lot about the campus plan. And it’s something that’s important to me, I think it’s kind of ridiculous that we’re being forced to build like a million new dormitories and house people in the hotel and all this stuff,” Tabas said. “It’s been amazing living in a townhouse, and I think that future students should also have that opportunity.”

Granville said he chose to get involved with GUSA to learn more about student government. He said he hopes to address the cleanliness of Village A over the course of his term.

“With Village A I think one of the biggest issues is the rooftop trash, and people struggle a lot of the time on the weekend to pick it up. I think it’s important to make sure that people on the rooftop all pick up their trash to make sure that the rooftop looks nice and clean,” Granville said.

 

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