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Sunday, September 27, 2020

Candidates announced for upcoming AS Election

Illustration by Cole Sandhofer

By Jordan Burrell

Campaign season has hit Western’s campus for the Associated Students Executive Board election. The candidates in the running for next year’s positions were officially announced on Friday, April 12.

AS Executive Board elections will open April 29 and will last through May 3, according to AS Elections Coordinator Alec Willis.

Willis said this year’s elections will be more competitive than those of previous years because multiple positions have two or more candidates in the running. He said he anticipates this enthusiasm for student government to be reflected in voter turnout.

Students can cast their votes online and at various polling stations on campus starting April 29. Votes will be cast on ballots using ranked-choice format, which means voters can rank multiple candidates running for the same position in order of preference. If the voter’s first-choice candidate does not win the majority vote, then their vote will go to their second choice, then their third and so on, Willis said at the candidates meeting.

The most competitive positions in this election are AS vice president for Governmental Affairs and AS VP for Sustainability with three candidates in the running for both positions, according to Willis.

The candidates running for AS VP for Governmental Affairs are Astrid Dueñas, Tatum Eames, and Grace Drechsel.

The three candidates running for AS VP for Sustainability are Jesse Bass, Trever Mullins and Crow Chloupek.

Lani Defiesta and Abdul Malik Ford are running for AS President.

Yesugen Battsengel and Josiah Scott are running for AS VP for Diversity.

Three candidates are running unopposed. Adah Barenburg is running for the Senate Pro-Tempore, a new AS Executive Board position for 2019-2020. Emily Gerhardt running for AS VP for Student Services. Selome Zerai is running for AS VP for Activities.

There have been a few positions added to the AS Executive Board as well as some eliminations. The VP for Academic Affairs position has been eliminated and turned into the Senate Pro-Tempore which facilitates the Student Senate and acts as a segway between the Senate and the Executive Board, said Willis.

Additionally, the VP for Student Life position has been split into two separate positions, one being the new VP for Sustainability and the other is the VP for Student Services. This is meant to provide a stronger focus on environmental, economically and culturally sustainable practices at Western. The VP for Student Services will make sure students are aware of and can utilize services the AS funds, such as the Outdoors Center and the Outback, said Willis.

“The VP for Business and Operations position, which currently exists, has been eliminated due to the fact that this position already had conflicts with the Business Director,” explained Willis. He also said the Student Senate has also absorbed many of the budgeting authorities that once belonged to this position.

Regarding this year’s elections candidates, Willis said, “So many of these people come from incredibly different backgrounds but they all have a very common passion for the students of Western.”

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