Click here to listen to reactions from Brandon Souza and Matt Taylor.
Brandon Souza was elected as president of Associated Students Inc. Wednesday in a run-off election against Matt Taylor, securing 51.3 percent of the vote. Of the 2,690 students who went to the polls, just 70 votes separated the two candidates.
“I’m really overwhelmed and excited to serve Cal Poly,” Souza said. “This has been in the works for four months and my campaign staff has been so amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
About 14 percent of students voted in the presidential run-off, whereas 25.5 percent voted last Thursday. In that election, Souza took 40 percent of the vote, followed by Taylor with 30.3 percent and Arvand Sabetian with 29.67. ASI election rules require a candidate to get 50 percent plus one vote to win. Since that was not achieved last week, a run-off election between the two frontrunners was necessary. Wednesday’s results are considered unofficial until approved at the next ASI Board of Directors meeting.
“If we didn’t have two really strong candidates, there’s no way we would have gotten this high of a voter turnout,” said Mia White, director of the ASI elections committee. She noted that without Cal Poly in the figures, the average voter turnout for first-round California State University campus elections is 8.9 percent.
Despite the loss, Taylor said that he would like to be involved with ASI again next year.
“I want to make sure to stay involved and keep serving the students, because that’s what I said I was going to do next year and I’ll continue to work towards that,” Taylor said.
Souza will start his term as president on graduation day. In the meantime, he’ll be meeting with current president Todd Maki to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
“The transition process is always the most important. It’s going to be a busy next few weeks,” Maki said.
Maki said he was impressed by both candidates and that either would have done a great job as his successor.
“They both have the experience for it and the personality for it,” he said. “They’re both confident and have great work ethics as shown by their campaigns.”
As for his first order of business as the president-elect, Souza was decisive.
“The first thing I’m going to do right now is call my mother.”