UI undergrads elect Connor and Mara ticket, 27 at-large and constituency senators

Connor Wooff and Mara Smith were elected as the University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government president and vice president on Sunday night. All senators — ticket affiliates, independents, and constituency seats — were elected as well.



Eleanor Hildebrandt, News Reporter

In the first exclusively virtual election of the University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government, the uncontested executive ticket of undergraduate students Connor Wooff and Mara Smith won the USG presidency and vice presidency Sunday night.

Amid the global novel coronavirus outbreak, the organization had to move all campaigns online for the first time ever, a decision that was made quickly, USG Student Elections Commissioner Cameron Moeller said in an email to The Daily Iowan April 1.

Moeller, who served as assistant-elections commissioner in the last academic year, said this was an important change in an unprecedented time — something that could impact who turns out to vote.

“Nothing like this has happened before, so we’ve all had to adjust on the fly,” he said. “I expect [overall] turnout to be lower. Many students have much more pressing concerns than [USG] elections, and the lack of in-person events and campaigning decreases visibility. The fact that the elections are uncontested may further reduce voter turnout.”

Moeller said he expected an increase in voter turnout for their specific election because of the constituency senator elections moving online and an increase in voting accessibility.

Undergraduate students who voted in this year’s newly split executive- and senatorial-ticket elections totaled 613 — more than 2,000 votes short of last year’s contested election turnout. The Connor and Mara executive ticket received 84.82 percent of the voters casting a ballot in their favor.

The constituency senator election saw between 132 and 79 voters for each seat, securing a position for each of the five candidates.

Alongside the executive ticket, both senatorial tickets — Connect Iowa and Impact Iowa — received enough votes to serve as senators in the fall. The two tickets together and the four independent senators who were elected make up 22 of the 30 at-large senate seats in USG.

RELATED: USG’s Executive and Senatorial tickets kick off election, voting to end April 2

UI Student Body President-elect Wooff said he is excited to hit the ground running and start working toward building an executive cabinet.

As former deputy director and current director of Governmental Relations for the organization, Wooff said he was ready to branch out and help with other initiatives in USG. He said he was especially excited to work with the students who will be helping with his and Student Body Vice President-elect Smith’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.

“I’m excited to help and connect where I can in USG,” he said. “A huge focus of Mara and mine is going to be diversity, equity, and inclusion, so I’m excited to work with the director of Sustainability, Justice and Equity, as well as our director of Health and Safety. I want to see those positions uplifted so we can make a lot of progress next year.”

Smith said she is looking forward to working with new Vice President for Student Life Sarah Hansen as well as the USG Justice and Equity Committee to continue supporting students.

“I know the new vice president for Student Life is also really excited to do some work with accessibility and justice and equity in general,” she said. “I’m excited to get that [committee] built and start doing important work there.”

She said even though she wanted to celebrate this election and her future inauguration in person, she is still excited to hit the ground running remotely.

As he prepares to take on his new position, Wooff said he is excited to help students in the midst of a global pandemic and connect with the people he couldn’t during the election process.

“I’m excited to get to work,” he said. “I’m really excited to start communicating and connecting with people. We have a national crisis going on, so I’m looking forward to helping students in that process and working with administration and staff in supporting students in the coming months.”

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