The entire college community in Madison, Wisconsin was rocked on Monday by the news that a UW-Madison student that was not running for an ASM office position voted in the ASM election. ASM, or Associated Students of Madison, is a group of students democratically elected by the student body to represent their interests in the day-to-day running of the university and big picture funding issues. The group has existed since the 19th century and has a proud tradition of advancing student rights.
Today, most UW-Madison students have a different proud tradition in regard to ASM: one of complete disregard. When asked about what he thought about ASM’s recent actions, Jason Longmember, a UW Junior only said: “Yeah no one gives a fuck.” In recent years, ASM has enjoyed an approval rating around 2%, though some criticize the polling that lead to these statistics, accusing them of accepting bias by including ASM members in the polling.
In this atmosphere of disinterest, word quickly spread that a student, Mitch Wellung, had actually researched candidates’ stance on important issues, and then cast his vote. This was the first recorded vote by a student not running for ASM office, or a friend of someone running, in 10 years. When asked what this strange turn of events meant for future elections, ASM representative Jessica Migbuff said that this initial signal of returning interest from the student body could completely change how students campaigned. When pushed on this, she stated: “previously, ‘campaigning’ just meant personally escorting everyone you have a remote friendship with go to vote. And voting for yourself, of course. Now, someone I don’t even know could vote for me? I might have to have opinions about student issues! I don’t like it.”
Other representatives have expressed similar opinions, while others are beginning even now to prepare Mitch-targeted campaigns for reelection in 2019. “It’s not just about how many people you know now. It’s about how many people you know and Mitch now,” another representative stated before ASM met last Thursday.
At press time, Mitch Wellung was quoted saying to a friend “yeah I think that ASM is pretty stupid and pointless now. I definitely won’t be voting again.”