The Cadre | UPEI

UPEISU Election sees Record Turnout, Nathan Hood Elected President

By: Drew MacEachern

The following article recounts the UNOFFICIAL results of the election; the results will become OFFICIAL when approved by Council this Sunday

After two weeks of campaigning, UPEI students finally saw their votes count at the finish of a noteworthy election. The results were announced at the Wave following Mental Health Week Trivia at 10: 50. This election also saw a voter turnout rate of approximately 40%. Many took this as a positive sign that increased outreach to students was working; the voter turnout rate for the Fall election was 30%, compared to two years ago, which saw one race have a turnout of only 12%.

The battle for President saw a two-way race between outgoing VP Student Life Nathan Hood and Science Rep Emma McDermott. Both candidates ran a substantial, issue-based campaign,

Nathan Hood

which resulted in a close race . Ultimately, Hood pulled himself into the presidency with 608 votes,  37 votes over McDermott’s 571.

After the results were announced, and pictures were taken, Hood gave a statement to the Cadre; ” Super grateful for the win. I think coming here in first year, I did not expect myself to get this involved. I told myself I wouldn’t get this involved and somehow I found myself as the President of the Student Union so I’m very excited. I have lots of projects I’d like to work on. Happy to be able to just get started on them right away.”

Emma McDermott

McDermott was extremely gracious in defeat. In her statement to the Cadre she responded; “It’s very well deserved. Nathan was very successful as VP Student Life and I look forward to seeing what he does next year. I’m really excited for it.”

Three people were looking to replace Hood as Vice President Student Life; UPEISU Campaigns Coordinator Kaylee Jabbour, SIS (Society of International Students) Executive Esomchukwu Obinna Jr, and Poli Sci/History Student Sam Ferguson. Ferguson received 217 votes, while the main contest fell between Jabbour and Obinna. Fifty votes carried Jabbour to victory over Obinna, with 595 to 545 votes respectively. Interestingly, there were also 50 abstains on this question.

Obinna was not present during the announcement, and as such as not immediately available for comment. Jabbour’s statement was short and sweet; “I’d like to thank everybody for their support. I’m very excited for next year and I’d like to congratulate my opponents on running a wonderful campaign.”

The Cadre also had a chance to get Ferguson’s take on his campaign; “Just disappointing in the results, I thought that I ran a very good campaign, very thorough, had a lot of issues covered and hoped the students would react differently to my methodology and my campaign but unfortunately they did not. Congratulations to Kaylee Jabbour, I think she’ll do a great job.”

VPAX John Rix ran unopposed for re-election and received a healthy 940 ‘yes’ votes to 108 ‘no’s. When asked by the Cadre for a statement, Rix responded; “I did run unopposed but I did work hard. I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things for the Student Union this year and I’m ready to get back on May 1st, start a new year, start some new direction, start working on an Island Student Alliance, start working on a comprehensive research paper on student debt for the province, and start working on a youth retention strategy. It’s gonna be a great year for the Student Union next year.”

Tayte Willows was voted in as Afternoon Valedictorian with a resounding 105 votes.

Aside from the Executive Elections, the most .  Veteran Sarah Outram placed safely in first 376 votes, followed by , Matthew Coleman at 368. Council veteran Joel Hansen came in third with 312 votes, while Charlee Fry fell short at 288 votes.

Several candidates were acclaimed; Arts Rep candidates Megan Rix and Casey O’Sullivan were elected with 200 and 205 votes respectively; Business Reps Halen Sky Blaisdell received 138 and 125 votes. Nursing Rep Robyn Soulsby was elected with 69 votes while AVC Rep Nicole Mann squeaked through to victory with 29 ‘yes’ votes to 23 ‘no’ votes. Michael Ferguson received 854 ‘yes’ votes to 108 ‘no’s to become the Board of Governors Rep, while returning Ombudsman Connor Mayhew, running unopposed after Hammad Ahmad dropped out the race late last week, swept to re-election with 891 votes to 113 ‘no’s.

The recipients of the Graduate Awards were also announced. The Owen MacDonald Memorial Award went to Julia Ross, the Crescam Serviendio Award (Female) went to Tayte Willows while the Crescam Serviendio Award (Male) went to  Dana Kenny. The Class of ’98 Leadership Award went to Teresa Tu, and the Senior Class Spirit Award went to Dana Kenny.

The Cadre reached out to CRO (Chief Returning Officer) Megan McNeill, who oversaw the election to give a statement about how she felt it went; “The election, I believe, went really well and we had a nice impressive turnout of approximately 40%, which is a really good turnout, as in the fall it was only around 30%, so we went up by at least 10 and I’m really excited for that and hopefully improvements can keep going so we as close to 100 as we can.”

Finally, the Cadre got the chance to get a statement from outgoing President Dana Kenny, whose term will officially end in May; “I’m absolutely thrilled with the voter turnout. Last fall we were just shy of 30%; we made a goal to hit 40% and we did it. This is incredible given that, in recent years, our voter turnout has been quite low. I think this really demonstrates that our efforts to engage with the student body have been successful and we will continue those efforts so that people are engaged; they know what’s happening, and they feel like they are a part of the process, because without them there is no process.”