Curtis Jenken has been elected as the next Huron University College Students' Council president.
Jenken, who received 285 votes after accounting for demerit points, spoke favourably about how both candidates participated in the election.
"I think it was excellent — it was a really positive campaign," Jenken said. "All kudos to Matt [Patterson]; he ran an excellent campaign and I was stunned, but I'm so grateful and really ready to represent Huron as a president."
Matthew Patterson ran against Jenken and received 153 votes after demerit points. One of his focuses for the campaign was ensuring students drove the issues discussed during the election.
"I think the biggest connecting theme I had is really trying to be sure I was talking about the priorities students have, making sure that what students talked to me about was something I brought up," Patterson said. "I think I did a good job with that and I think Curtis [Jenken] did as well — we really talked about the issues that came up this week from students."
However, a strong highlight for Huron was the high voter turnout.
"We got 503 votes," Patterson recounted. "That's 41 per cent of the population of Huron — that's a huge turnout, way bigger than any previous year, so I think we're all really happy about that."
Nate Sussman, current HUCSC president, attributed the high turnout to the candidates' involvement.
"I think it speaks to how much both of the candidates spoke to people and brought people out and were speaking about relevant issues that people cared about," he said.
Both candidates lost votes on account of demerits received during the campaign period, according to a public brief released by the elections committee.
According to the release, violations for Jenken concerned poster violations resulting in four demerit points. Patterson's demerits were awarded for misrepresentation of facts and pre-campaigning violations for a total of 10 demerit points, with seven of them attributed to pre-campaigning activities.
The incidents were explained in the brief as visible posters and a conversation between Patterson's campaign manager and two students concerning Patterson's election before the start of the campaigning period at 11 p.m. on Jan. 17.
Despite the demerits, Sussman found a large priority for voters were platform points that could be enacted in the upcoming year.
"I found that more than I have seen in previous years, there was this intense focus on scrutinizing the platforms for points that could actually be done," Sussman said. "It's clear that Huron's voters this year were looking for a candidate that was going to promise them certain important changes for next year, not in the future."
As Jenken plans to enact platform points such as a mental health resource for Huron, he was grateful to the students that elected him to the role.
"I would like to say thank you to everyone who voted for me and voted in general," Jensen said. "I think Matt [Patterson] and I both appreciate it, and I really look forward to serving next year as Huron's president."