Tenacious campaigning and experienced incumbent candidates helped the Your Vote=Your Voice slate of candidates sweep this year’s TRUSU board of directors election.
Your Vote=Your Voice candidates were elected to all thirteen positions on the board of directors. The margin of victory was substantial for several of the candidates, but it was most dramatic for Melissa Gordon, the victorious presidential candidate who won with 58 per cent of the votes in the three-candidate president race.
Gordon said she was “very excited and happy to be chosen by students,” and that her slate has “a lot of great things in mind” that they will start work on at their first meeting as board of directors in May.
Throughout the campaign, adding TRU’s international students to the student union’s health and dental plan was the key issue for Your Vote=Your Voice. Other issues advocated by Your Vote=Your Voice candidates included reforming academic advising and providing more representation on campus for LGBTQ students.
Your Vote=Your Voice’s success may have been due to voter confidence in their incumbent candidates. Ryan Makar, Cameron Staff and Paige Bernard will return to their positions as VP finance, director-at-large and women’s representative respectively. Melissa Gordon and Meshari Alanazi will remain on the board of directors but in different roles than the ones they were elected to last year.
The visibility of the Your Vote=Your Voice campaign may have also contributed to their success. Their candidates were handing out fliers outside the polling station for most of the two days the polls were open.
“This year, I felt like I didn’t even know there was an election until yesterday, when I kept being approached and told to vote,” said TRU math student Charli-Rae Dougherty.
The opposing slate, TRU Synergy, also hosted several campaign events, including handing out cupcakes in Old Main and leading a walk to the polling station a few hours before polls closed on Thursday. Another walk to the polls was scheduled for Thursday morning, but it didn’t happen as planned. According to presidential candidate Assetou Coulibaly, the morning walk “didn’t have enough attendance, [because] both voters and candidates changed their plans at the last minute.”
There was a varying degree of commitment shown by the election’s independent candidates. Independent president candidate Jordon Robinson admitted on Wednesday that he had not campaigned much. Independent director-at-large candidate Robert Wisla said that he had “handed out a good chunk of his fliers” before the polls closed.
The voter turnout for the election was only 9.4 per cent, down from 15 per cent last year. Members of both slates expressed interest in increasing last year’s voter turnout during the campaign but ultimately did not succeed.