The Feds executives for 2015-2016 were elected by less than five per cent of the University of Waterloo’s undergraduate population. This is less than half of 2014’s 11 per cent voter turnout. </p>
There were 30,264 eligible voters in this last election. Of that, 4.3 per cent voted in the vice-president education election (VPED), 4.6 per cent for vice-president operations and finance (VPOF), 4.8 per cent for president, and five per cent for vice-president internal (VPIN).
The online voting period was extended by 10 hours after the website experienced “technical difficulties” the night of Feb. 11. Current president Danielle Burt said that the website’s issues did not affect voting as the time was extended to make up for time lost.
“We experienced a few technical hiccups with vote.feds.ca, which was redesigned this year. These issues may have caused some students who were trying to vote at that time not to return once they were resolved,” a Feds statement said.
Feds election officer Anne Marie Hayman said that the last few elections had major issues or referendums attached, which brought out more voters. She said the lack of controversy in platforms could be the reason for the low turnout.
Hayman also blamed voter fatigue for the five per cent turnout.
“We asked and advertised for students to vote in the spring term for the provincial elections, in the fall term for the municipal elections and the fall reading break referendum, and now in the winter term for the Feds general elections … lots of voting in one year,” Hayman said.
For the position of president, Chris Lolas won with Paula Colaso and Baiju Patel being ranked second and third, respectively. Lolas received 745 votes, meaning that he was elected by 2.4 per cent of eligible voters.
Carly McCready beat incumbent Ben Balfour for VPOF. Balfour was the only one of the three incumbent candidates to not be re-elected. VPOF was the closest executive race with McCready winning by 54 votes.
Stephane Hamade was re-elected to the position of VPED over independent candidate David Birnbaum.
Maaz Yasin was re-elected to the position of VPIN. Matt McLean, Mike Cimetta, and Jessica Dineen were ranked second, third, and fourth respectively.
“I’m at a loss for words right now. I didn’t really prepare for what I would do if I won, in the moment,” Lolas said after the results were announced.
Team Gold had three of its four members elected — Lolas, McCready, and Hamade. The three teammates said they are ready to work with Yasin, who ran as part of Team Fusion.
“I’m excited to start,” McCready said. “I wish Ben good luck with the rest of his term and I think either of us would have done a great job.” Balfour was not present at the announcement of the results.
Pallavi Hukerikar won the engineering senate seat, James Koo won the applied health sciences senate seat, and Allyson Francis claimed the at-large senate seat.
Update Feb. 19, 9:27 PM: Voter turnout numbers added.