Four University of Wisconsin freshmen are preparing to join student leadership on campus after the Student Council unveiled the winners of the Associated Students of Madison elections Wednesday night.
ASM Student Elections Commission Chair Mickey Stevens announced Callen Raveret, 291 votes, Michael Quesnell, 368 votes, AJ Hipke, 389 votes and Carissa Szlosek, 439 votes, as this year’s seat winners.
The elections, which were open throughout the week, were held in order to fill the four annually-opened Student Council seats designated for first-year students, ASM spokesperson David Gardner said.
According to Stevens, this year’s election had 1,351 completed ballots out of the 6,279 students in the freshman class, which he found to be a “pretty standard number.”
Although the 21.5 percent voter turnout rate received applause from the current ASM Student Council members who were in attendance, Stevens said the turnout rate was lower than in past years.
However, Stevens, who said he was pleased with the elections overall, attributed the decline in voter turnout percentage to the increase of approximately 1,000 students in this year’s freshman class.
“That voter turnout is actually a little bit lower than our normal voter turnout, but I would like to blame that on the fact that UW-Madison actually has about 1,000 more freshmen that it typically does this year,” Stevens said. “So it still looks like a good sign to me.”
Conversely, Stevens added all of the 31 applicants, a pool he deemed of average count, had a higher distribution of votes, with more than 15 candidates receiving approximately 100 votes.
Stevens added this new development was a testament to the candidates and their work in the election process.
“What is interesting about these fall elections is that typically when we have these freshmen voting, we don’t have a very high distribution of votes, but this semester we had a lot of people with a high number of votes,” Stevens said. “That is very impressive to all of you that ran and accomplished that.”
Szlosek, who received the highest number of votes overall, said the experience of winning was a very shocking one. Attributing her success to the new friends she made at UW and the use of social media, Szlosek said she hopes to give back to the freshman class by representing it in her seat.
Adding the experience gave her the opportunity to reach out to people from different backgrounds, Szlosek said she did student council work on a much smaller scale at her high school in New Jersey.
Despite the overall decrease in voter turnout, Szlosek said she was pleased by the turnout and found it to be an incredible percentage nonetheless.
Szlosek added she hopes high voter turnout continues to be an increasing trend for the national elections in November and sees this freshman election to be a sort of “trial run.”
Stevens encouraged all candidates who did not win a seat in Student Council to look into other committees in ASM and continue their involvement with ASM.
“Obviously we know that you guys have talent and experience that we would love to have on ASM with us,” Stevens said.