Hobie Webster, a junior pre-law major, was elected as the next president of ASNMU in Tuesday’s general election.
Webster received just over 45 percent of the more than 1,800 votes cast in the election, which ran from 12:01 a.m. to 6 p.m. Senior Kash Dhanapal finished second, while seniors Neal Glatt and Brian Lantto finished third and fourth, respectively.
“I am surprised at the margin (of victory), really,” said Webster, who tallied 255 votes more than Dhanapal. “I thought it was going to come down to, literally, a handful of votes.”
Webster’s vice presidential candidate, junior Jaclyn Calamaro, was also elected, defeating sophomore Keith Voorheis by a margin of 989-797.
While campaigning, Webster said that he and Calamaro began to feel as though they needed to make up ground on their opponents.
“Our assumption was that we were coming from behind for the entire race. Neal was the experienced candidate and Kash had a lot of experience in residence halls,” Webster said. “I think it was that extra underdog mentality that made us work harder to get the vote out.”
Tuesday’s voter turnout was the highest for an ASNMU election since 2004 and nearly doubled the numbers from last year. Dhanapal said he believed the reason behind the high turnout was because so many candidates were running.
“I think it was that there were so many of us running at the same time that we all came into contact with different people at different times,” he said. “That personal contact is probably what made it happen.”
Webster said the number of candidates, combined with their legitimacy, contributed to the interest across campus.
“I think it was the competition between the candidates. I think there was a quality of candidates that probably hasn’t been there,” he said. “This time we had four candidates, three of whom had several hundred people voting for them.”
With the elections over, Dhanapal said he would consider joining ASNMU in some capacity next semester. Glatt, who said he was surprised by the results, left no doubts as to whether he would remain a part of ASNMU.
“Absolutely,” he said. “I love this school. I told people I would return, and I’m going to.”
Webster, who started the transition process on Wednesday morning, will be officially sworn in on Tuesday, April 15. He said he would attempt to hire an Information Technology Director and a new ASNMU treasurer as soon as possible.
“I really appreciate the job (current treasurer) Katey Newton has done and I appreciate her dedication over the last three years, but there will be a new chairperson of the SFC,” he said.
The main goal for the next few weeks is to get ASNMU operating smoothly, Webster said.
“We’ll be working these last two weeks to make sure everyone is on the same page heading into the summer,” he said. “That’ll give them an opportunity to reflect on the upcoming year and maybe start to think about projects that we can do.”
Tuesday’s election also marked the end of the road for NMU’s Collegiate Readership Program.
Ballot initiative No. 1, which proposed a $5.76 increase to the Student Activity Fee in exchange for the delivery of 350 daily issues of USA Today and The New York Times, was voted down, 972-858.
“It’s shut down. We’ve established that this vote was a true measure of how the students feel about it,” said Glatt, who is also the chairman of the ASNMU Readership Program Committee. “That’s the end of the program. There won’t be papers on campus.”