WUSA elections witness low voter turnout

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Graphics by Jia Chen

Student politics at UW experienced low student engagement this year. Of the 34,084 eligible voters, the number of students who participated was 1,729. 

The 2021 Winter Term elections, which opened on Nov. 20, concluded on Feb. 4, with a 5.07 per cent voter turnout,” Seun Adetunji, Communications and Media Relations Manager of WUSA, said.

With only one candidate choice for each executive position, students were required to vote yes or no instead of the usual ranking system. 

“This year’s low voter turnout reflects the uniqueness of this election cycle. The lack of contentious races leading to reduced student engagement and our new virtual world are some of the reasons why fewer undergraduates participated in the elections,” Adetunji said. 

For the next WUSA President, Benjamin Easton, 935 votes were cast –  729 yes votes, 117 no votes, and 89 abstentions. 

Matthew Schwarze, VP, Operations and Finance, for the next academic year, received 682 yes votes and 114 no votes, with 39 abstentions. In total, 835 votes were cast for this position. 

A total of 845 votes were cast for Stephanie Ye-Mowe, the next VP, Education. Out of which, 688 were yes votes and 109 were no votes, with 48 abstentions. 

Catherine Dong, the elected VP, Student Life, received 736 yes votes and 123 no votes, with 39 abstentions, bringing the total to 898 total votes. 

There was a 7.13 per cent drop in voter turnout this year compared to last year.

“The voters are, however, representative of the entire student community. We congratulate all winners and look forward to the ideas they will bring and the contributions they will make to the undergraduate student experience at the University of Waterloo,” Adetunji said. 

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