The 2017 elections are off to a weird start.
Each year when the nominations open, presidential slates rush to submit their papers and have their first Gazette interviews. So far this year, it has been seven days and only one slate has stepped up.
But from what we're hearing through the grapevine, there are a few other slates preparing to throw their hats in the ring over the next month.
The one announced slate right now — Team DiBrina — definitely has an exposure edge. They announced their candidacy much earlier than anybody else. The two candidates have also been involved in student leadership roles for a while.
Harry Orbach-Miller, the vice-president candidate, has been very active on University Senate as the chair of the Western student senators this year. David DiBrina, the presidential candidate, has been fairly active on USC council and is involved with the USC's strategic plan.
On paper, the duo collectively has enough experience to be potential front runners this year. But until other slates are in the picture, it's difficult to predict how the race will shape up.
Will we have another Team Roy which challenges the USC status quo with an outsider pitch? Will there be another Robert and Robert who just wanted to bring a smile to students' faces? Or will we have a two-way cliffhanger like we did with the Team Sophie vs. Team Litchfield election?
While Team DiBrina is definitely experienced, they do show a continuation of the USC's status quo — coming up through the traditional system for USC executives. Their platform is yet to be seen but they didn't promise anything wild in their first interviews.
That isn't a bad thing in itself but it makes a slate less aware of political realities at Western and willing to make big promises much more attractive.
A slate pitching itself as "USC outsiders" and with some out there ideas can definitely shake up this election. But any big upsets will only be possible if the voter turnout rises this year — the average 20 per cent turnout is usually people involved with the USC, sophs and some politics-savvy students.
With exams ongoing, the election season has yet to pick up steam. But come January, things can get a lot more interesting once we know who'll be challenging Team DiBrina in this year's election.
What is the 20 per cent? 20 per cent is the rough average of students who vote in student elections at Western every year. It is also the name of the Gazette's 2017 elections blog. Here you'll see Gazette editors and staff break down the elections and platforms for you as well as provide analysis on all the latest election happenings. We sincerely hope many more than just 20 per cent of Western students vote this year.