Completing a Students’ Party (SP) sweep of all four Associated Students executive seats, Chaz Whatley emerged victorious Friday after the final count came in from a run-off election to determine next year’s A.S. president.
Including undergraduates’ second choices, Whatley received 52.26 percent of the total 4,744 undergraduate votes, beating out her opponents, Bill Shiebler of Student Action Coalition (SAC) and independent candidate Torrin Brooks. Shiebler received 47.74 percent of the votes including the run-off count, and Brooks garnered 403 votes overall. Whatley, who spent Thursday night in the A.S. main office anticipating the results, said on Friday that she could not stop crying when she heard of her victory.
“I’m going and knocking on every door in Isla Vista and introducing myself to my constituents,” she said.
Polls in last week’s online A.S. election closed Thursday, April 21, at 4 p.m., and the results that night showed Students’ Party winning three of the four executive positions. Adam Graff was elected as next year’s internal vice president, Kelly Burns will be the next external vice president of local affairs and Felicia Cruz will return to her post as external vice president of statewide affairs after winning re-election.
The three presidential candidates, however, had to wait until 9 a.m. Friday for the run-off votes to be counted. A run-off election that counted every student’s second choice vote for president was automatically triggered since no presidential candidate garnered more than 50 percent of the student vote in the initial tally.
Brooks, who celebrated with SP at a party last Thursday night, said he is confident in the students’ choice.
“I’m sure Chaz will do a good job, and I wish her the best of luck,” Brooks said.
Although Brooks is graduating this year, he said he would like another person to run without a party affiliation next year.
“We’re thinking about trying to find another independent because we thought that just having more candidates out there was good for the students,” he said. “We think it would be good, if nobody else is running independently, to find somebody to sponsor [and] keep it going.”
Shiebler could not be reached for comment on Sunday, after several phone calls.
Whatley said that hosting a town hall meeting with UCSB students would be her first order of business when she gets into office. She said every student, not just A.S. members or those from student organizations, are welcome at the meeting.
“I want to ask them, ‘What is the biggest problem at UCSB,’ in their opinion, and do they have any proposed solutions,” she said.
Just under 5,000 undergraduates voted in this year’s A.S. election, representing approximately 28 percent of eligible voters. Whatley said she wished more students exercised their right to vote.
“Every vote does count and [students] need to know how important their vote is,” she said. “If you have a problem with something on campus, they need to know that voting is how to solve it. You should vote for the person you feel can make that positive change on campus.”
Whatley, however, said some students would be apathetic, regardless of what A.S. does.
“You can’t make people care,” she said. “You can’t grab them by their hand and drag them to the polling stations, and that’s a problem on this campus. If I knew how to fix it, it wouldn’t be a problem.”