Free Staters, led by presidential candidate Apramay Mishra and vice presidential candidate Grant Daily, has won the 2020 Student Senate election according to unofficial results released by the Student Senate Elections Commission Saturday night.
Mishra became the student body president-elect and Daily became the student body vice president-elect. Mishra and Daily received just over 78% of the student vote, defeating independent presidential and vice presidential candidates Isabella Southwick and William Wilk.
“For us, [this win] means the realization of what we’ve worked towards all semester,” Mishra said. “What Grant and I have worked towards during our time on this campus is an affirmation of the belief that we had in each other and the coalition had in us, and hopefully the springboard to making some positive changes on this campus.”
Free Staters, the only coalition to file in the election, ran on 24 platforms focused on accessibility, inclusivity, affordability, student wellness and senate reform.
Some of the platforms the coalition has been most outspoken on include establishing a universal scholarship page for students, advocating for a University of Kansas minimum wage and decreasing wait times for walk-in appointments at Counseling and Psychological Services.
“I’ve run in a lot of elections, and I’ve been lucky in almost every single one of them, but this is a high mark for sure,” Daily said. “The amount of positive change that we’re going to be able to do next year baffles me. I couldn’t be happier.”
This year’s Student Senate election was extended from two days to a full week and pushed back to the end of April in response to the new coronavirus outbreak. Candidates were unable to campaign in person due to the University closing its campus on March 17.
Approximately 2,355 students voted in the election, according to the unofficial results. This is approximately 9.7% of students, according to KU enrollment data.
This year’s turnout is a slight increase from last year, when voter turnout dropped from nearly 30% in 2018 to approximately 8.5% — 2,282 students — in 2019. Student Body President Tiara Floyd and Student Body Vice President Seth Wingerter led Crimson+Blue as the only coalition running in last year’s election.
“It’s a blessing to be able to know that you have the support of that many people,” Mishra said. “Turnout normally being 10% would be considered low, but with the fact that there’s no on-campus campaigning, that just speaks to the dedication of the people in this coalition and the people that believed in Grant and I.”
Mishra and Daily will officially take office during Joint Senate, which will be held virtually at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.
“We’re going to get to work as soon as we take office,” Daily said. “Apramay and I both promise to be really productive members of student government, and from day one, we’re going to start working to advocate for people.”