Elections analysis: Students abstained the most on vice-president races, bylaw changes

This year, 17.4 per cent of eligible UBC students showed up to vote for their student government. Alongside the races for the five AMS executive positions, there were four referenda and the elections for student representatives on the UBC Vancouver Senate and Board of Governors (BoG).

Of the four referenda on the ballot this year, only the fee increase for the Bike Kitchen failed to pass. While it achieved a slim majority, it did not receive the necessary votes to make quorum.

The other three referenda passed with the question on fee opt-outs and the question on bylaw changes netting nearly 90 per cent approval. Seventy-three per cent of voters voted in favour of a fee increase for the Sexual Assault Support Centre. Overall, it appears that the two referendums asking students to pay a few dollars more in fees received the most pushback.

In the race for UBC’s student senators at-large, students re-elected Eshana Bhangu and Georgia Yee while ousting incumbent senator Dante Agosti-Moro. The other three elected student senators at-large were incumbent Land and Food Systems Student Senator Anisha Sandhu, incoming AMS VPAUA Dana Turdy and AMS Councillor Romina Hajizadeh.

In the race for Board of Governors representatives, incumbents Georgia Yee and Max Holmes defeated newcomer Tate Kaufman by a landslide. Both Yee and Holmes have previously served as the AMS’s VPAUA.

Students had the choice to abstain from AMS executive elections and referenda. However, the University Act prevents students from abstaining in BoG or Senate elections.

The most abstained race was that for AMS VP administration, in which Ben Du won as the only unopposed candidate in these elections. Students were also less interested in the other vice-president races and the bylaw change referendum; one-third of students abstained from voting in these races.

Meanwhile, the hotly-contested race for AMS president was the headline of the night, with only 11.9 per cent of students abstaining, the lowest of all races.

Students seemed unwilling to abstain when it came to how their fees were spent. Behind the race for president, the referendums on fee opt-out changes, increasing the SASC fee and increasing the Bike Kitchen fee were the three least-abstained votes.