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2022 USAC election reaches conclusion, sees lowest voter turnout in over 10 years

Students gather at Meyerhoff Park to hear the results of the 2022 undergraduate student government election. The election had the lowest voter turnout in over a decade with only 15.19% of eligible voters participating. (David Rimer/Assistant Photo editor)

By Anushka Chakrabarti, Saumya Gupta, and Alexandra Kaiser

May 6, 2022 10:27 p.m.

This post was updated May 8 at 9:51 p.m.

Voter turnout for the 2022 undergraduate student government election was 15.19%, the lowest in more than a decade.

Fewer than 5,000 students voted in this year’s Undergraduate Students Association Council election of about 30,000 eligible voters in the student body – a decrease from last year’s turnout of 19.82% and 30.06% in 2020. Voter turnout was also down from 16.18% in the 2019 election.

This year’s undergraduate student election consisted of 22 candidates running for 15 positions. Seven offices were uncontested and all candidates ran as independent except six students who ran under the Students Organizing Active Resistance slate.

[Related: USAC 2022 spring elections ballot features 23 candidates, 1 referendum]

Carl King Jr. won the USAC office of the president with 63.29% of the vote as an independent candidate. King, a second-year business economics and political science transfer student, said he is excited to start building his team and working on policies regarding community unity, affordability, rebuilding and revitalizing campus mental health, equitable learning and social engagement.

“First-generation students and transfers … sometimes they have challenges regarding succeeding at universities of this nature, and I just want to acknowledge how rare this is,” King said. “I’m very prideful and very honored by the UCLA student body to be selected as their president.”

King is the first transfer student to win the USAC presidency in more than a decade. He is also the first independent candidate to win in two years, with the past two presidents coming from the For The People slate, which disbanded in this year’s election.

There was one referendum – Education, Access, and Retention NOW! – on the ballot that would have increased student fees by $5 per school year quarter and $3 per summer quarter to fund the Black Bruin Resource Center and Transfer Student Center. The EARN! referendum failed to pass because of insufficient voter turnout. A referendum requires a minimum voter turnout of 20% to pass. The referendum also saw 51.97% of voters vote against it.

This year was the first time elections were held in person since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Voting was conducted online through MyUCLA and lasted from April 29 until Friday at 2 p.m. 

Palmer Turnbull, chair of the USA Elections Board, said he believed the low voter turnout was due to the controversy surrounding the presidential candidates and their lack of campaigning.

“I don’t think there’s anyone that feels super inspired to vote when there is some sort of controversy around all of our presidential candidates,” said Turnbull, a fourth-year political science and statistics student.

Angelina Quint, a candidate formerly running with the SOAR slate, was disqualified Thursday as a result of continued noncompliance with sanctions issued against her by the elections board. Quint posted allegations against fellow USAC presidential candidate King. The board sanctioned Quint to amend her allegations to reflect the board’s findings surrounding the inaccuracy of the allegations.  

[Related: USA Elections Board disqualifies USAC presidential candidate Angelina Quint]

SOAR was the only slate that ran in this year’s election, and of the six candidates running with the SOAR slate, four won. Three won in uncontested offices and one won in a contested office. 

Divine-Faith Johnson, a third-year global studies and political science student, was elected external vice president with 74.33% of the student vote. Johnson said she feels honored to be chosen to represent UCLA students at different levels of the government. 

“I’m excited to be working with the communities that I said that I want to hone in on next year, and to create a stronger bond with the community and advocacy spaces,” she added. 

Johnson said she was not surprised the referendum failed, adding that it signals there needs to be better advocacy for the Black and transfer student communities represented by the referendum. 

“It just shows that UCLA needs to take a step forward to fund these resources that don’t use student fees because it’s obvious that these resources need more funding,” said My-Lan Le, a second-year molecular, cell and developmental biology and political science student, who was elected next year’s internal vice president.

Incoming Community Service Commissioner Juan Flores ran uncontested. Flores, a third-year public affairs student, said they were disappointed that the referendum failed, as it was essential to support retention and enrichment programs on campus. 

Sara Broukhim, a second-year political science and psychology student, was elected as the incoming Financial Supports commissioner.

Broukhim said she was proud of the campaigns she and her opponent Dakota Edison ran and is excited to start working on her platforms.

“I’m just excited to get started on my platforms and helping UCLA students,” Broukhim said. “It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Hansika Nath, a first-year business economics and global studies student, ran uncontested for international student representative. Nath said she is excited and ready to start working.

Naomi Hammonds, a second-year psychobiology student, was elected as general representative 2.

“It’s been a long campaign season on top of student stress. I still got midterms that I got to get ready for, but I’m feeling good,” Hammonds said.

 

President

Carl King Jr. (Independent)

Internal vice president

My-Lan Le (Independent)

External vice president

Divine-Faith Johnson (Independent)

General representatives

  1. Kian Kohanteb (Independent)
  2. Naomi Hammonds (Students Organizing Active Resistance)
  3. Eliana Judith Sisman (Independent)

Academic Affairs commissioner

Daniela Anais Cortez Bravo (Students Organizing Active Resistance)

Campus Events commissioner

Giovanna Boffa (Independent)

Community Service commissioner

Juan Flores (Independent)

Cultural Affairs commissioner

Alicia Verdugo (Students Organizing Active Resistance)

Facilities commissioner

Phoebe Chiu (Students Organizing Active Resistance)

Financial Supports commissioner

Sara Broukhim (Independent)

Student Wellness commissioner

Ana Majer (Independent)

Transfer student representative

Teddy Moreno (Independent)

International student representative

Hansika Nath (Independent)

 

Contributing reports from Shaanth Kodialam and Sakshi Joglekar, Daily Bruin staff.

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Anushka Chakrabarti | News editor
Chakrabarti is currently the 2021-2022 News editor. She was previously the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the science and health beat, and she was a former contributor for online. She is also a third-year mathematics and economics student at UCLA.
Chakrabarti is currently the 2021-2022 News editor. She was previously the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the science and health beat, and she was a former contributor for online. She is also a third-year mathematics and economics student at UCLA.
Saumya Gupta | News senior staff
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
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