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Q&A: Why voting matters with Isaac Brandt

AS Elections Coordinator shares insight on student government at WWU

The notice board outside the Associated Students office at Western in Bellingham, Wash., on May 10, 2024. Voting for the Associated Students elections will be open from May 13-17 and can take place online or in person. // Photo by Peyton Perdue

On Monday, voting will open for Western Washington University’s Associated Students election. Polls are open online and in person in Red Square until Friday. These positions include the student senate and executive board. The executive board represents non-academic student interests to university administration. The senate is responsible for representing students' interests in academic affairs. Executive roles include the president, the vice president, senate president, VP for Activities, VP for Governmental Affairs, VP for Student Services and the VP for Sustainability. 

Anyone who pays the Services and Activities fee, which includes all students on the Bellingham campus, is eligible to vote. Students who are elected will serve one academic year. Voters can learn more about the candidates in the voter guide. 

Over email, Isaac Brandt, the AS Elections Coordinator, shared why voting for student government matters.

Q: What are the AS elections?

A: The AS elections are how the Associated Students of Western choose our representatives to the university and the colleges. There will be a digital ballot on WIN accessible for all students to vote from their own phone or computer, any computer lab or station on campus, and at a polling station in Red Square where laptops will be provided for people to vote. Everyone will get to decide who our new executive board members and general senate members will be, and the students in each of the colleges will get to decide who their respective senate members will be.

Q: Why should students vote in the AS elections?

A: These people [senate and executive board members] represent us academically and operations-wise, and handle a large budget created from our Services and Activities fees to fund AS WWU programs and provide resources and activities for the student body. Beyond just the practical benefits, these elections also ensure that we elect representatives that are truly representative of us, the students, and it is important that people get out and vote so they can be as representative as possible of the whole student body.

Q: How are the candidates selected?

A: Anyone who meets the qualifications outlined in the elections code may apply during the candidate filing season, which this year ran from March 23 through April 28. Everyone who is eligible, which is most students at Western, is encouraged to apply for free. Any who are then able to attend the mandatory candidate meeting to go over campaigning rules are allowed to run and will be placed on the ballot.

Q: What decisions do the AS executives help to make?

A: The AS Executive Board helps make many decisions regarding the operational side of the university. They help represent students to the university at large, and both sit and seat student representatives on various committees throughout Western and the AS. They are also a co-budgetary authority alongside the AS senate and help determine each year’s budget.

Q: What decisions do the AS senators help to make?

A: The AS senators help make any decisions regarding the academic side of the university and the component colleges. These decisions can be general or specific to particular sections of the university as needed. For instance, the AS senate is currently working on a resolution about the use of [artificial intelligence] in academia. Also, individual senators help represent their constituents directly to their departments when needed.

Learn more about the upcoming elections here.

Peyton Perdue

Peyton Perdue (she/her) is a campus news reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a second-year visual journalism major minoring in religion and culture studies. When she’s not reporting, you can find her taking pictures, reading or (most likely) napping. You can reach Peyton at

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