A record turnout for the Oakland University Student Congress elections of 2,967 voters reflected the barrage of pamphlets, posters and sidewalk chalk drawings that have littered the campus over the last month.
Presidential candidate Brandon Gustafson and his running mate Amy Ring won the election with 1,429 votes, beating out second place finishers Cameron Schea and Mike Diedrich by 542 votes.
“Wow,” said Gustafson as he reacted to the news.
Elections commissioner and OUSC administrative assistant Bill Hamilton credited the record amounts to the work of members of the elections commission as well as the candidates that heavily promoted the contest.
Jean Ann Miller, Center for Student Activities director, said that the “substantial” numbers could be credited to “aggressive” campaigning efforts.
“Last year, it was very passive,” said Miller. “This was not a passive election and that’s what made a difference.
She said that about 1,000 votes were cast last year. She recounted a campaign run by former student body president and now current chair of the Oakland County Democratic Party Mike McGuinness as the other “interesting” campaign run in recent years.
“All of the candidates put themselves out there,” said Miller. “They appealed to all different constituencies and (promoted) visually.”
Gustafson said that he was relieved that it was all over, as did third place finishers Saman Waquad and Laura DeSanto.
“We were the most hard-working throughout this entire campaign with how much time, money and effort were spent talking to people, going over issues, developing a platform and really looking into what we thought OU needed to have changed,” Gustafson said. “What we worked so hard for came true.”
Ring said that though she and Gustafson felt confident when it came to the outcome of the election, she did get a little nervous when she heard about the record turnout and wondered “where all those other votes came from.”
Third place finishers Waquad and DeSanto felt that grievances were not heard out in a fair manner and will continue to combat “shady” campaign tactics used, though they do not contest the results of the election.
The final OUSC meeting of the current Dayag/Waquad administration will take place Monday at 4 p.m. Gustafson and Ring said that their first order of business will be to hire a “solid” executive board and plan for the summer.