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Special election held to fill ASW chief justice position

Kate Pasco is sworn in as ASW chief justice by the Speaker of the Senate Mia Moore in Dick 109 on Feb 4. Pasco won the position during a special election after her predecessor Lia Baez was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the middle of the semester. (Photo by Katie Probert)

Westminster College held an unexpected special election for chief justice on Jan. 31, said ASW officials.

The student body received an email on Jan. 29 announcing the election to find a replacement for the previous Chief Justice Lia Baez who was called away from the position to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

It was announced on Feb. 1 that Kate Pasco, former associate justice, won the election against Associate Justice Angie Mock. Pasco was inducted on Feb. 4 at an ASW senate meeting in Dick 109.

The special election happened over a matter of days rather than weeks like a standard election.

“It’s very compressed,” said Oliver Anderson, director of student development and faculty advisor to ASW.  “A standard [election] would have informational meetings for anyone who is interesting in running. After you submit your interest in running, you can have posters up, you can campaign for a period of days, and there will be a debate. With special elections, we don’t have time for that and so we are allowed to do a more condensed version.”

An infographic showing average voter turnout for student government elections at Westminster College, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Utah State University and Salt Lake Community College, according to data provided by the Dean of Students office. Westminster’s turnout for the special election for chief justice was 13.09 percent which was impressive, said Oliver Anderson, director of student development and faculty advisor to ASW. (Photo by Katie Probert)

When choosing candidates for the special election, Anderson said that they put a call to associate justices who had been working with the Chief Justice to see who would be interested. Anderson, as the advisor, then created the Canvas page for voting and put out a notification to the student body. Candidates then had one day to table and campaign before voting started.  

At first, it was only going to be the Senate to vote on the two candidates, said Mia Moore, speaker of the senate.

“After further reflection on the ASW constitution and other guiding documents, we were enlightened that [the decision] actually had to go [to the] whole campus so that’s why the special election was created,” Moore said.

Student voter turnout for the special election was 13.09 percent, which is an impressive turnout for such a quick election, Anderson said.

In contract, Anderson said ASW’s general election usually have around a 28-30 percent turnout of the population voting.

Although Pasco won this special election, she will still need to rerun in the upcoming election Feb. 28 through March 1 to keep the position for the next academic year. The special election was called to fulfill ASW’s board for this spring semester, said Moore.

Pasco said she is planning to run again.

“I really hope that this semester would serve as a good introduction if I were to be reelected for next year and I think that would be a huge advantage to come into it with my feet on the ground already,” Pasco said.

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Katie Probert
Katie is a senior communication major with an emphasis in graphic design. She likes to funnel her creativity in multiple different mediums. From oil paints to model making, she likes to keep her hands busy. Katie can normally be found petting random dogs on campus or reading on her phone in a variety of coffee shops.

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