The University of Colorado Student Government elections, which began Monday, have exceeded the previous school record for voter turnout in just two days.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 7,369 votes have been recorded, beating the previous record of 6,844 in the spring of 2006, according to Danielle Warly, CUSG election commissioner.
Polls are open through Friday at 8 p.m. through the school’s information system, MyCUinfo.
CUSG staff and candidates attribute the largest voter turnout in CU history to a large pool of motivated candidates and strong student interest in the Recreation Center referendum.
The referendum requires a voter turnout of 7,035 students — or 25 percent of the student body — to be passed, which was exceeded Wednesday morning. If passed, the referendum would increase student fees by about $125 per student, per semester allowing for a nearly $63 million renovation.
The online ballot includes the largest candidate pool in school history. There are 97 candidates running for 39 positions in CUSG, Arts and Sciences Student Government, Leeds Council and Engineering Council.
“The candidates have been incredible,” Warly said. “They’re everywhere. It’s like I can’t escape them.”
All three tickets are tabling in the UMC and other locations on campus throughout the week, handing out snacks, T-shirts, sunglasses and condoms.
Isra Chaker, CUSG presidential candidate for the EDGE ticket, said the competition between the tickets is driving all of the candidates to “up their game.”
“Every ticket has been stepping it up this year — more then I’ve ever seen in any election,” Chaker said. “The pressure is on.”
Corey Wiggins, CUSG presidential candidate for the Propel ticket, said the high-voter turnout is exciting because it means students are taking the opportunity to have their voices heard.
“Students are more invested in what’s going on than they have been in the past,” Wiggins said. “A lot of students are voting on their own, and not just at the tables.”
The Invest ticket did not respond to requests for an interview Wednesday.
Warly said the election commission has also been working hard to create awareness. She said they are already getting positive feedback from students.
The commission hired a student to design their advertising, posters and signs, which have appeared across campus. Warly said the commission and candidates are also using Facebook to create awareness about the elections.
After exceeding their original goal of 7,035 student voters, Warly is raising the bar and asking candidates to push for 10,000 votes by Friday evening.
“I told the candidates that if we get 10,000, the winning ticket could pick a song and I would sing it in the fountain area during passing period,” Warly said.
Warly said it’s typical to see smaller numbers during the last two voting days, but she has high hopes for the strong momentum to continue throughout the week.
Final results will be announced Friday evening after polls close.