studentsenate (copy)

Student Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason gives his officer report at a Senate meeting Oct. 2. Thomason released unofficial results of freshman Senate elections Thursday afternoon.

The 2019-20 freshmen student senators will be Ella Keathley, Max Lillich, Ximena Ibarra, James Bond and Mary Morrison, according to unofficial results released during a Student Senate executive board meeting Thursday night.

“Having freshmen elections allows for a voice and a representation in the full Senate from the freshmen body that otherwise wouldn’t be there,” Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason said in the meeting.

Thomason said there were 95 fewer votes cast this year in freshmen elections, which took place from Oct. 9 to 10, despite an increased number of candidates. In total, there were 291 votes, according to the unofficial report.

Thomason said that the lower turnout is likely a result of the timing of the election. Freshman elections usually took place during the second week of classes, but after fall 2017, Senate moved them to October to give candidates time to build connections and get to know the campus.

While this system has made the election more inclusive, Thomason said it has also reduced turnout.

“When you have two months after it, they’re in the rhythm of things, midterms,” Thomason said. “I think it’s a little bit more difficult to keep that mentality, so I think that’s why we’ve seen a decline in some of the freshmen voter turnout. When we go to revise the elections code this year, I think it gives us room for pause to think of the benefits.”

Thomason said he planned to call both the new senators and those not elected Thursday evening to inform them of the outcomes. The results will become official after the newly-elected senators submit their financial reports from their campaign.

The freshmen will represent their class for the first time as senators this Wednesday at the next Senate meeting on Oct. 16 at 6:30 p.m.