Murdock elected student body president, fee increases split

Winning the election with 730 votes to 637, Lindsay Murdock and Lukas Smith will be the next ASMSU Student Body President and Vice-President, beating opponents Dillon Haskell and Stephen Rowe in the closest race in the past five years.

Murdock, the current student body vice-president, said she was “excited” and “nervous” about her win. “Lukas and I are looking forward to representing the students,” she said.

Murdock added that she wanted to “thank students for trusting us and showing up to vote.”

“Please, please, please continue to hold us accountable,” she asked of students.

Haskell said that although he was “pretty bummed” about the election result, he was happy to see election turnout up 4 percent from last year, from 7 percent to 11 percent.

“It was a hard-fought campaign,” he said, adding that he hopes that Murdock and Smith will “strive to get students more engaged in ASMSU and work to include other candidates’ ideas and positions in their own.”

Included on the ballot were two referendums up for student vote, one to increase the Student Organization Fee and the other to increase the Intramural Fee.

The Registered Student Organization (RSO) Fee increase referendum, passing with 804 votes for and 655 votes against, will increase the Student Organization Fee by $3.10. The increase will double the current fee from $3.10 to $6.20. The funds raised by the fee go to supporting student clubs by providing funding for their activities, allocated by the Student Organization Funding Board. This fee applies to students taking seven or more credits per semester.

The Intramural Fee increase referendum, failing with 822 votes against to 632 for, would have increased the Intramural Fee by $1 to help fund a club sports supervisor. According to the referendum, Recreational Sports and Fitness has half of the money needed to fund the position. The referendum would have provided the other half.

The Student Organization Fee increase must be approved by the Board of Regents in May before being implemented in the Fall.

Students also voted for the two student representatives on the Bookstore Board of Directors, electing Kiah Abbey and Cody Donaugh. Abbey, the outgoing student body president, received 834, while Donaugh received 475.  The other candidates, Schuyler Kinneman and Dietrich Perchy, received 351 and 274 votes respectively.

This year’s election turnout amounted to 11.1 percent of the student body population. Out of 13,735 eligible voters, 1,520 cast votes. It was the second-lowest turnout in the past eight years.

Last year’s presidential election, the lowest turnout, between Abbey and Jessie Cook had a turnout of 7 percent. The highest voter turnout in recent years took place in the spring of 2011, when along with the uncontested presidential election, the campus smoking-ban was on the ballot. Voter turnout for that election was 21 percent.

This presidential election was also the closest within the past five years, having a margin of 93 votes, or 6 percent of voters. The second closest election was in 2010 by a margin of 223 votes.

Murdock and Smith will officially take office after being sworn in at the last ASMSU senate meeting of the semester. Until then, Murdock said they will be reviewing their campaign platform, and she will be shadowing Abbey, while Smith shadows Murdock in her current position.