Election season has officially come and gone, and USUAA recently held their fall elections on Nov. 13.
Students were able to vote in-person or online on nine constitutional amendments and UAA’s student regent and student commissioner candidates.
Amendment #19-01 was, perhaps, the most notable amendment on the ballot in terms of its direct effect on the student body at large. This amendment proposed a $10 flat Student Government Fee as part of the fees that students pay with tuition as opposed to the current structuring of the fee, which is determined by the amount of credits students are taking.
All nine amendments passed as each amendment garnered an average of 93 votes with #19-05 (Vice Presidential duties) garnering the least votes with 32 and #19-04 (presidential attendance at assembly) garnering the most with 111 votes.
“The result of that work ended up in these nine amendments,” Bat-Erdene said. “Once the work is done, the [USUAA] constitution will not require any more amendments for the foreseeable future.”
Having run unopposed, USUAA’s Residence Hall Association liaison Benjamin Miller secured his position as UAA’s student regent candidate, receiving 127 votes. Miller will go on to be considered amongst other UA campuses’ election winners for the single student seat on the University of Alaska Board of Regents, the governing body responsible for the management of the University of Alaska system.
If appointed by the Board of Regents, Miller will serve a two-year term, representing the voices of all University of Alaska students.
Also having run unopposed, USUAA liaison Ali Stover received 129 votes to secure her position as UAA’s candidate for student commissioner to the Alaska Commission on Post-Secondary Education (ACPE). Like the student regent position, she will be considered among the winners of each campus.
If appointed, Stover will work closely with the ACPE in their efforts to make post-secondary education opportunities more accessible to students in Alaska through means such as the Alaska Performance Scholarship, financial aid, various education planning tools and other resources to ensure the accessibility of a higher education.
“I believe that both Ben Miller and Ali Stover would do a great job in these positions,” Bat-Erdene said. “[Their involvement] would definitely bring the student voice… That is always needed.”
Reflecting a decline in student enrollment, voter turnout for the 2018 fall election was understandably lower than last year’s, shown by a decrease in total votes from last year’s 199 to this year’s 147.
“The voter turnout was a bit lower, but it was to be expected because of it just being constitutional amendments and a special election for student regent and commissioner,” said USUAA advisor, Kim Morton. “The Spring election typically has a higher turnout because there is generally more campaigning because there has been competition for at least the president/vice president positions.”
However, despite a decrease in total votes, this year’s fall election saw a profound increase in online votes with a total of 145, leaving only two votes counted from in-person ballots. Last year, only 79 online votes were cast in contrast to 120 in person.
Despite a slightly reduced turnout, USUAA was able to host their election as planned. With the constitutional amendments passed, Bat-Erdene is excited to now delegate more attention towards servicing the student body.
“This will definitely build a great foundation for the future administration and the future of this organization,” Bat-Erdene said, regarding the election results.