Elections for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's student council and finance committee are slated to begin Monday.
These elections decide the 33 student representatives that make up the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) student council. The council serves as the official student voice on critical issues that affect UW-Madison students such as plastic use and COVID-19 policy on campus. They advocate on behalf of students when it comes to reviewing and revising campus policies relevant to student life.
An additional election is also underway for the three seats that make up the Student Services Finance Committee (SSFC). These students are in charge of overseeing $50 million in student fees — the main source of support for student-run organizations and activities.
“By participating in the electoral process, students exercise their right to have their voices heard in university affairs,” ASM Student Elections Commission Chair Spencer Johnson said.
Online voting will be open from 8 a.m. on March 28 to 5 p.m. on March 30. All UW-Madison students are eligible to vote.
Last year, voter turnout among the student body was just 7%. Johnson emphasized the importance of students participating in these elections.
“Electoral input is the backbone of representative governance at any level, particularly in student government,” Johnson said in an interview with The Daily Cardinal. “Without it, ASM cannot accurately represent student interests.”
Johnson went on to stress the responsibility of students elected to hold ASM positions.
“The students play large roles in university policy and promoting the well-being of the student body,” Johnson said. “For example, SSFC members help direct $45,000,000 in segregated fees each year.”
“By voting in ASM elections, students can shape the membership of both bodies, thereby influencing the issues, campaigns, and initiatives that ASM will pursue in the coming academic year,” Johnson continued.
For students interested in learning more about the ASM candidates, there is a candidate matrix available listing the candidates that will appear on the ballot. Several candidates, such as Ashley Cheung, Stu Levitan, Maxwell Laubenstein, Steven Shi, Reez Bailey and Ndemazea Fonkem, are seeking reelection to the student governance body.
Besides the election, there will be one referendum question about minimum wages for student workers on campus on the ballot, asking whether voters support increasing it to $15.
If this referendum passes, the SSFC will request all UW-Madison departments that employ students and are funded by segregated fees to adopt a $12.50 minimum wage beginning in the 2024 fiscal year. Within the next three years, the wage would be increased to $15.
The results of the election and referendum will be announced through a virtual press conference at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.