KU student election results now final: 56.7 percent said no to proposed Union renovation

University of Kansas 2017-18 OneKU coalition student body presidential candidate Mady Womack (right) and vice presidential candidate Mattie Carter.

University of Kansas spring election results are now — finally — final, and margins shared by the KU Student Senate Elections Commission show that almost 57 percent of students said no to adding a 30-year, $50-per-semester fee to pay for a $45 million Kansas Union renovation.

Voting took place April 13 and 14, and preliminary results were shared on April 14. After resolving a handful of hearings and appeals for reported elections violations, the Elections Commission formally certified election results this week.

• Voter turnout this year was 24.9 percent, according to Elections Commission compliance chair Harrison Baker. He said 5,765 students voted in the election, which, in addition to the Union referendum, decided the 2017-18 student body president and vice president and most Student Senate representatives.

• On the Union referendum, 56.7 percent of students voted no, 32.6 percent voted yes, and 10.7 percent abstained, according to results from the Elections Commission.

University of Kansas 2017-18 OneKU coalition student body presidential candidate Mady Womack (right) and vice presidential candidate Mattie Carter.

The loss followed a multiyear focus-group and planning process undertaken by the Union.

“I am disappointed with the outcome of the election results,” Collin Cox, executive outreach director for the RedoYourU campaign, said in a statement after the election. “However, our team is committed to continuing working on these efforts to insure a future renovation.”

The Union team plans to review the election outcome “and what that fully means moving forward,” according to the statement.

“In these challenging financial times for students, it’s hard to convey the complexity of a $45 million project, most of it driven by things people will never see,” David Mucci, director of the KU Memorial Union, said in the statement. “We are confident this was the optimal project with the greatest efficiency that entailed the least amount of disruption for the campus.”

• Next year’s student body president will be Mady Womack, a junior from Overland Park majoring in economics. Vice president will be Mattie Carter, a junior from Kansas City, Mo., majoring in journalism and political science. They faced an unusually crowded field, with a total of four coalitions campaigning for the student body’s top spots.

photo by: Nick Krug

Prospective University of Kansas students walk past the Kansas Union while on a walking tour of the campus, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. The Union is proposing a 5 million renovation and students will vote in the spring on whether to add a 30-year, 0 per semester fee to finance it.

Womack-Carter won with 47 percent of the vote, according to results from the Elections Commission. Tomas Green and Zoya Khan of the Kunited coalition received 35 percent of the vote; Chancellor Adams and Andrew Davis of the TrueKU coalition received 12.4 percent; and Chance Maginess and logan Miller of Onward coalition received 5.7 percent.

KU’s 2017-18 Student Senate representatives met as a body for the first time Wednesday night, at a joint meeting with the outgoing administration.

• I’m the Journal-World’s KU and higher ed reporter. See all the newspaper’s KU coverage here. Reach me by email at sshepherd@ljworld.com, by phone at 832-7187, on Twitter @saramarieshep or via Facebook at Facebook.com/SaraShepherdNews.