Final ballot: eight men out
By The Gazette elections team
In last night's University Students' Council election, voters turned out in record numbers but there could still be only one winner.
The number of students who voted was 4,986, one of the highest turnouts in recent history.
Following closely behind president-elect Ryan Parks was Brian Astl. "I wouldn't change a single thing," he said.
Astl was especially happy he continued to attend all his classes during the campaign and said his campaign team did a great job. "[Parks] is a great candidate. I think he's going to be a good president."
Third place winner Kevin Mol cautioned Parks to remember those who put him in office, but said overall, the election ran smoothly. "I'm indebted to a lot of people and a lot of supporters who came out of nowhere to help me," Mol said. "The students have said what they've wanted.
"I'm gonna wake up tomorrow and study my ass off."
Christina Gural said she has no regrets for entering the race and gained valuable knowledge on how to conduct herself under pressure. She said she is going to concentrate on school and apply for a masters political science program. "I plan to run sometime in the near future in municipal or provincial or federal politics," she said.
The turning point in the campaign was The Gazette's editorial enorsement and centrespread on Tuesday, Mark Smiley said. "Anytime a candidate gets endorsed by the most influential media source on campus it is going to have a dramatic effect on the voting students.
"I took for granted that people knew what was going on," Smiley said. "I tried to run a different kind of campaign. One that was more non-political.
"Ryan will do an excellent job. He will quite possibly be the best president Western has ever seen. The hard part starts now. There are incredible expectations he will have to live up to but I'm sure he will do it," he said, adding he was extremely disappointed in the voter turnout.
The presidential race was a positive experience for Sean Martin. "We had fun and it went well. We had a lot of support surrounding the whole thing and there's nothing we can change now."
The election process is not something Saj Butt took lightly. "I am happy for all of [the candidates], I learned from them and I hope they learned from me.
"The campaign was great. I wouldn't have changed it for the world. If I had it would not have been me, the everyday student that I am."
Scott Graham took the final results in good spirits. "I'm really happy for Ryan. I think the USC is in good hands in his leadership."
Last place finisher Roy Sproxton was confident in the abilities of the president-elect. "The University of Western Ontario has chosen a strong candidate in Ryan Parks and I wish him all the best."
Each candidate must win at least 10 per cent of the vote in order to be refunded for their campaign costs, to a maximum of $1,150 per candidate. For every one per cent of the vote, they get 10 per cent of their costs returned.
Chief returning officer James Deans said he thought the USC would be losing a lot more money but this changed considering five candidates earned under seven per cent of the vote.
"I think that having nine candidate set us up for a situation where we could be paying a lot of subsidies. As it worked out, I think we'll be paying out less than we anticipated. We will be really close to our budget or else under. I thought there would be more candidates with 10 per cent of the vote," Deans said.
USC President Dave Tompkins said it's a roller coaster, you never know what's around the next corner.