UMSU elections see lower voter turnout, tight race for president

Images provided by Riley Shannon and Brook Rivard

Renew UMSU has won four out of five executive positions with one independent, Brook Rivard, winning the vice-president finance and operations position.

The 2021 UMSU executive is comprised of Brendan Scott as president, Tino Dogo as vice-president community engagement, Savannah Szocs as vice-president student life, Emily Kalo as vice-president advocacy and Brook Rivard as vice-president finance and operations.

In an emailed statement, Scott stated he is honoured to have been elected and wants to thank Renew UMSU’s campaign team, volunteers and supporters, writing “the love they showed was astounding.”

“I want to acknowledge my opponent [Judith Oviosun’s] hard work during this election, she ran an amazing campaign and I can’t wait to see what else she will accomplish with her time on campus,” the statement read.

The race for president was tight with Scott garnering 51.4 per cent of votes while Oviosun won 48.6 per cent. 

In 2020, the race for president was less closely contested, with current UMSU president Jelynn Dela Cruz winning 59.7 per cent of the vote and her closest contender, Sia Yamba, winning 20.2 per cent.

“A new major priority is re-engaging this campus when we return to in-person studies so that we can see high voter turnout like we did last year,” the statement continued. “It is no one’s fault but the pandemic that we saw this year’s election have few candidates and lower interest from students.”

Voter turnout for the election this year was 20.4 per cent, down from last year, representing 5,045 members out of 24,735 participating. Comparatively, turnout in 2020 was 27.7 per cent with 6,355 members out of a total 22,969 placing ballots.

“I am very proud of the hard work my team has put in, I am excited to serve all 24,000+ undergrad students to the best of my abilities and make our union the strongest it’s ever been for when we return to campus. Hopefully that will be this fall,” the statement concludes.

Brook Rivard, the UMSU vice-president finance and operations-elect, also issued a statement by email to the Manitoban.

“I’m touched that so many in the student body got involved in the election and have placed their trust in me to represent them,” the statement read. “I’m excited to get started on the work ahead of me and to implement my policies.”

Rivard also offered his condolences to the unsuccessful candidates and stated that he hopes to have many opportunities to work with them in the future.

“With the involvement that was seen this election cycle, I hope that students stay engaged in student governance through the year and will hold us accountable to their desires,” the statement ended.

For the community representative races, Tracy Ayebare Karuhogo was confirmed for the position of womyn’s representative.

Tolani Olanrewaju won the race for international students’ representative earning 53.6 per cent of the vote. Towani Mutale received 46.4 per cent.