ASEWU elections attract over 1,000 voters

By Jeremy Burnham, Copy Editor

One-thousand-thirty EWU students took to the polls on May 8 to vote in the 2018 ASEWU elections. Among other issues, voters elected Dante Tyler as ASEWU President, voted to approve a change to the constitution that allows ASEWU to move elections to a time when semester students are still on campus and approved an addition of an ASEWU dissolution clause to the constitution.

At the time of this publication, the results were still unofficial. They will become official after they are certified by the ASEWU council.

“I’m ecstatic,” Tyler said. “It’s been extraordinary to see people come up to me and say, ‘I voted for you, I’m so happy you won.’”

The 1,030 voters make up just over 10 percent of the students eligible to vote. Constitution amendments cannot be approved unless at least 10 percent of eligible students vote. This is an increase from the 6 percent of voters who voted in the primaries, and the 7.8 percent who voted in 2017’s general elections.

“Getting the 10 percent is something we’ve been trying to do over and over again,” ASEWU director of elections Justin McBride said. “Being able to reach it was a really big deal for us.”

The increase in voter turnout is something that outgoing ASEWU president Gaige Baisch said he was proud of.

“One of the things we’ve struggled with the last few years is voter turnout,” Baisch said. “Getting that 10 percent means the recommendation to the board of trustees to change the constitution can be made.”

Of the three constitutional amendments that voters approved, Baisch said the one allowing for the change of date for general elections is the most important.

“Our constitution said that elections will be held on the second Tuesday of April and the first Tuesday of May,” said Baisch. “Our semester students are done by then. So, these students could go to Eastern, pay all their fees and not be allowed to vote. We’ve been trying to change that since I can remember, but we haven’t gotten the 10 percent needed.”

Tyler said he hopes to be able to continue to push those numbers up. He said student involvement is something he wants to focus on.

“I want to keep pushing for that student-first mentality,” said Tyler. “One of the first things I want to do is create a TV broadcast on campus so that students can know what’s happening on campus. They can know what committees are meeting, where they are meeting, how to sign up for these committees. […] There’s a lot of students who want to be involved, but don’t know how to.”

In the other two positions of the executive branch, Ashley Jenniges was elected executive vice president, and Jevion Knox was elected director of finance.

The constitutional amendment adding a dissolution clause was necessary for ASEWU to obtain a gambling license so that clubs can hold raffles. The other amendment would change the name of the director of finance to vice president of finance. The EWU board of trustees must approve these amendments for them to take effect.

The voters also elected nine new council members.

Baisch, who leaves office after graduation, offered some advice to his replacement: “Stay sane, it’s a stressful job.”