Before UNR students went off on their various spring break adventures, they elected Noah Teixeira and Sebastian Atienza as their Associated Students of the University of Nevada President and Vice President in a record-breaking display of voter turnout.
This year, 22.4 percent of students at the University of Nevada, Reno, placed their votes in the election for the ASUN President, Vice President and Senators.
ASUN Elections Chair Steven McNeece set out this semester with the goal of achieving 27 percent voter turnout.
“We usually have the primaries and then the general elections debates, sadly primaries can slow down the voter turnout for the general elections because people vote during the primaries and then they get burnt out by that,” McNeece said. “This year we have just the general election, so we are going to push that really hard.”
Despite the high voter turnout, the Teixeira and Atienza win was hardly a landslide. Each won their office by less than 100 votes, a close race that has not been seen at UNR in years.
The presidential race was decided by just 74 votes; the vice presidential race was decided by 94 votes out of the near 4,000 votes.
Last year saw a voter turnout of 13 percent and President Brandon Boone won the office with a margin of 283 votes. In 2015, 19 percent of the student population voted for Caden Fabbi, who won by 953 votes.
When asked why he thought the turnout was so high compared to previous years, McNeece said it was hard to say, but he thought their marketing techniques played a role.
“It was a really great race between our presidential and vice presidential candidates,” McNeece said. “Students know when they have equal candidates working just as hard for the same position and I think once students can sense that both candidates truly want it, that’s what reels them in.”
Though the turnout was just short of the goal McNeece had set out for the elections commission, he was still satisfied with the turnout.
“[I am] unexplainably excited,” McNeece said. “I am really happy everyone went out and voted, it was something we were pushing all year, and it is just still kind of hard to believe until you see those numbers.”
On Twitter, Alex Crupi and Trenton Jackson congratulated Teixeira and Atienza on the win, then tweeted, “Once again, thank you to everyone who supported us in this election! The Presidential election was decided by 74 votes & VP by 94.”
Shortly after announcing his candidacy for president last month, Teixeira came under fire from students for tweets he sent from 2014 and 2015 that contained derogatory and offensive language.
Students used the hashtag #NEVERNOAH to protest his candidacy.
Teixeira responded shortly after with an apology in a statement where he called the language immature and embarrassing.
“Growing up in a small town, I never had the opportunity to learn and understand diversity the way others did,” Teixeira said. “As I have learned from my experience at an institution of higher education, a person is a product of their surroundings. I said and tweeted things without thinking, and felt social pressures to talk and act a certain way.”
After winning the presidency, Teixeira said the first thing he would do as president is to create an Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion position.
“This campaign has taught Noah and I a lot about ourselves as people and we got to really branch out to this campus and meet a lot of individuals that we would have never met before that,” Atienza said.
The new senators, President and Vice President will start work next month after the end of the 2016-2017 Senate session.