High turnout for Student Senate Election

 

Durgin McCue

News Editor

Candidates for Student Senate offices campaigned all day on Wednesday and Thursday last week to compete for support in what would be the highest voter turnout in years.

The executive board of the Hudson Valley Student Senate next year will consist of Everett McNair as President, Bryce Kirk as Vice President, Josiah Dillon as Treasurer, and Brody O’Connor as Secretary.

The election drew a large number of students, with 648 total votes cast. The eligible number of voters on campus is almost 8800, making the voter turnout about 7%. This is the highest percentage of Hudson Valley students to cast votes in recent years.

The polls, which could be accessed through the Hudson Valley website, opened on Wednesday and closed at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The Presidential race was the closest, being decided by a margin of only 20 votes. Chad Albright received 236 votes to McNair’s 256. The third-place candidate, Xavier Miller, received 93 votes.

“Considering the strong field of candidates a close race was to be expected,” said McNair in a statement emailed to the Hudsonian.

McNair attributed a large amount of his success to his membership in the LEAD Party. “I joined with other candidates to form a strong party.This has contributed the most to my success.” He said in the statement, “The support of my party was crucial in the election.”

“I think election brought out the best in all the candidates,” said Albright, who ran as part of the Viking Party. “The competitiveness of this election really got a lot of people to vote.”

The Vice Presidential race was won by Bryce Kirk of the Viking Party. Kirk ran against Casey Angello, of the LEAD party, and won by 56 votes. Kirk is the only candidate not from the LEAD party to win his election. McNair stated in the email that the LEAD party knew the Vice Presidential race would most likely be close.

According to Kirk, having the backing of his partner helped him gain votes. “First of all, I had Chad helping me out, which meant that when I wasn’t able to be campaigning he was out there getting us support,” said Kirk.

Kirk also attributes some of his success to working with potential voters in a personal manner. “I was willing to have a ten- to fifteen-minute conversation just to secure one vote,” he said. “I took the time to really get to know people to get their votes.”

Being the only member of the Viking Party to be elected, Kirk will have to work with LEAD party members throughout the year.

“I don’t think it will be all that difficult at all. I was in the same degree program as Josiah, [and] Brody for my first two semesters, so I am actually really good friends with them,” said Kirk. “I think we have very similar agendas. We all want to increase student participation. I don’t think there will be much conflict.”

“Bryce Kirk is a friendly hardworking student who has great skill in working with people,” said the statement from McNair. “He will bring positive energy to the executive board and to the campus.”

Josiah Dillon of the LEAD party ran unopposed for treasurer and won with 428 of the votes cast with 220 abstaining.

Dillon is also on course to be president of the Investment Club next year. He believes that his experience in finance will help him take on the role of treasurer.

“I was really active in [the Investment Club] this year. I’m really in the know about finance. It’s what I’m good at, it’s what I love to do,” said Dillon. “Being able to bring my knowledge of finance to the table will help us dig really deep in to the budget and do a really good job of allocating and spreading that money out.”

Dillon says he will also continue the practice of holding all-clubs meetings, which was started by Senior Class President Adam Day.

“Everything is about compromise,” said Dillon. “That’s basically what we want to do at the all-clubs meetings, so we can spread the funds a little better.”

Dillon also says that he hopes that the all-clubs meetings will help to form a Hudson Valley identity. “I want people to be proud to come here.” said Dillon. “Let’s put the “community” back in community college.”

Brody O’Connor, elected to the positions of Secretary and Student Trustee, said that part of the LEAD party’s position was to encourage students to be voters.

“There has been really low turnout in the past,” said O’Connor. “We really wanted to get more people voting. We really wanted to break the record for turnout, and we actually came really close to breaking that record.”

O’Connor says that his positions as Secretary and as Student Trustee both require a large amount of interaction with the student body.

“For both of them, you have to do a lot of talking to students and learning about campus issues, and then bringing them to different boards,” said O’Connor. “I’m a member of several clubs around campus, so I have a very diverse group of friends that I work with on a daily basis.”

Both the parties were very active on campus before the polls closed on Thursday. Members of the LEAD party could be found at the Campus Center and Spring Fest handing out sunglasses, baked goods, and fliers.

The Viking party was also present at Spring Fest, with a table directly across from the LEAD party. Albright and members of his campaign team distributed candy and posters advocating for the Viking party.

There have been some concerns regarding the nature of the campaigning that took place leading up to the elections. There are several bylaws in the Student Senate constitution that direct the campaign practices of candidates.

One concern arose from the use of a microphone by a candidate at the Evening Student Reception. Some interpreted this action as a violation of the Student Senate constitution, stating that the microphone was not specifically intended to be used by campaigning students, while others argue that because it was provided by the Student Senate it could be used for campaigning.

Some members of the Student Senate, speaking on condition of anonymity, believe that these bylaws should be modernized so that they are clearer.

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