Photo by Cindy Cui / Photo Editor

On the night of Jan. 30, 2020, Giancarlo Da-Ré was in the basement of Togo Salmon Hall with a few members of his core campaign team when he learned that he was the new president-elect of the McMaster Students Union. As per tradition, the news was delivered to him by the current MSU president Josh Marando via phone call.

The ranked voting system requires over 50 per cent of the votes to elect a candidate. With 4810 students voting and 666 students abstaining, the threshold this year sat at 2073 votes. Da-Ré received 2504 votes, 431 votes over this requirement and approximately 52 per cent of the total votes that were cast.

The 2020 elections also saw a new low for the voter turnout, with only 19.1 per cent of eligible McMaster students voting this year. This marked a sharp decline from last year, especially when compared to 2014 to 2017, when voter turnout did not once dip below 40 per cent. This downward trend began in 2018, when voter turnout dropped to 28.8 per cent, and continued to 2019, when it dropped even further to 26.8 per cent.

“I was disappointed to see that the voter turnout this year had dropped again. I think this was the product of a few different factors, one of which being the low number of candidates, which would contribute to overall promotion of the election across our community of voting members,” said Da-Ré.

“I was disappointed to see that the voter turnout this year had dropped again. I think this was the product of a few different factors, one of which being the low number of candidates, which would contribute to overall promotion of the election across our community of voting members,” said Da-Ré.

Since all candidates are given five business days to contest any results and to appeal any fines, Da-Ré’s new position is still unofficial. Nevertheless, he is continuing conversations related to his platform, which highlighted accessibility, climate action and student experience.

One critique of Da-Ré’s platform is that while he claims that it was informed by 100 consultations, there were several key groups that he had not contacted by the time the campaign period began. Now, Da-Ré asserts that he has set up consultations with Maccess and the Academic Sustainability Programs Office in order to work towards accessibility and sustainability.

He also voices his desire to consult with people whose perspectives might differ from his own.

“If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the campaign period, it is that there are many groups on campus trying to tackle different parts of the same puzzle, and that there is a lot of work I have to do to better understand those different pieces,” he says.

“If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the campaign period, it is that there are many groups on campus trying to tackle different parts of the same puzzle, and that there is a lot of work I have to do to better understand those different pieces,” he says.

While he does not elaborate on any specific details, Da-Ré states that his consultations have helped him understand how offices and departments within McMaster interact with each other. He states that he has gained a sense of the work that has been done recently in this community, and, by extension, an idea of the work that still needs to be done.

With this in mind, Da-Ré wants to remind students at McMaster that they are foundational to the university’s community.

“Students are incredibly passionate and hard-working, and while some changes won’t be seen overnight, they have more power than they think in influencing change within our community,” he says.

Regarding what his first plans would be when he takes office, Da-Ré says, “It’s hard to say what my first plans will be a few months from now, but I look forward to getting up to speed on current initiatives and projects so that I can hit the ground running in May.”

For now, Da-Ré looks forward to the election results becoming official and to starting the transition process with Josh Marando.

He welcomes anyone interested in consulting to send an email to giancarlodare2020@gmail.com.

 

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