Johnson, Barkosky elected next USG president, vice president

Patrick Johnson and Vera Barkosky will serve in the top two executive positions of the University of Iowa’s Undergraduate Student Government during the 2022-23 academic year.


Isabella Cervantes

Patrick Johnson and Vera Barkosky find out they will be the President and Vice President of USG in the IMU on Friday, April 1, 2022.

Ryan Hansen, News Reporter

Patrick Johnson and Vera Barkosky will serve as the undergraduate student body’s president and vice president at the University of Iowa during the 2022-23 academic year. The two ran unopposed and the results were announced Friday afternoon. 

Johnson and Barkosky received 79.69 percent of the vote. Students could indicate whether they wanted to elect the pair or not but could not place write-in votes. 142 of the 699 voters, or 20.31 percent, said they did not wish to elect Johnson and Barkosky.

Turnout, which had been falling since 2018, was higher this year than the 2021 election, in which 475 students voted.

The election results for both the executive and legislative branches were announced by Student Elections Commissioner William Jones in the Iowa Memorial Union. 

USG Sen. Robert Jepsen, who ran independently, garnered the top vote total among senators with 219 of the total votes. Eight of the next 10 candidates who received the most votes represented the United UIowa party, one of three senatorial tickets along with CREATE and GARZA.

Six of the 10 constituency senator seats were also on the ballot. The LGBTQ+ constituency senator position received the most votes of any of the positions with 132. All of the candidates ran unopposed.

RELATED: Patrick Johnson and Vera Barkosky make unopposed run for UI student government president and VP

In the next administration, the constituency seats will be occupied by the follow, in descending order of vote totals:

  • Paras Bassuk – LGBTQ+ Constituency Senator
  • Karla Sierra – First-Generation Constituency Senator
  • Natalie Kehrli – Disability Constituency Senator
  • Ngonyo Mungara – Black Constituency Senator
  • Amisha Mohanty – Asian, Pacific Islander, and Desi-American Constituency Senator
  • Sara Koppy – Latinx Constituency Senator

Voter turnout in the election remained low, with 699 total student votes. The total marks an increase compared to the previous two years but still falls well short of the engagement seen in elections in the 2010s.

The Daily Iowan previously reported a drop in turnout numbers after the onset of COVID-19. From 2011 to 2019, elections averaged 21.57 percent turnout. Including this election, the previous three have averaged only 2.79 percent.

Jones said he hopes to build on the gains made in this election over the course of the next year and continue to move toward pre-pandemic voter turnout.

“We’re trying to make sure we reach as many people,” Jones said. “If you look at the numbers, there is a huge dropoff in people participating.”

Jones said increasing voter turnout will continue to be a goal of his because it promotes democratic values within the student population.

“That’s what this is all about,” Jones said.

Johnson, the USG president-elect, previously served as the finance director. He said he is excited to get to work, with eyes toward the four pillars he and Barkosky ran on: belonging, empowerment, service, and transparency.

“We’re excited to get to work and really work to represent every student on this campus and make campus better in any way that you can,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said he hopes to continue to show support for and advocate for the needs of students.

“We want to work to make sure every single student feels safe on campus,” Johnson said. “Whether that’s expanding NiteRide, advocating for increased mental health funding, and just supporting students. Really, investing and connecting with students – that’s our biggest goal.”

Barkosky, the former cabinet director and current vice president-elect, said that despite a stressful campaign, the team did a great job in the build-up to the election. 

“Patrick has been a great partner throughout this whole process,” Barkosky said. “We had a really great support system. We have great advisors [and] just a great group of people to help us out, to work with, and get to work.”

All candidates will be inaugurated at a ceremony on April 30 in the Old Capitol Senate chambers. At the event, USG will also present awards to current members of the legislative and executive branches such as executive of the year and first-year senator of the year.