Vision welcomes Grow members

N–Elections-Grow Colby Patterson
Florence Fernandez, Ali Sadler and Oliver Anderson members of the former Grow Party pose for a photo. The Grow Party has merged with the Vision Party. Photo courtesy of Grow Party.

Florence Fernandez, Ali Sadler and Oliver Anderson members of the former Grow Party pose for a photo. The Grow Party has merged with the Vision Party. Photo courtesy of Grow Party.

Primary elections have ended, and the remaining candidates have a week off before beginning their campaign for the general elections. Members of the now-dissolved Grow Party are facing the tough decision of whether to join Team Unite or the Vision Party, thus filling their vacant slots, or to run independent of a party.

Team Unite’s presidential candidate Mike Bird and vice presidential candidate Ashley Newhall received 1,092 votes, and their senior class presidential candidate Tanner Olson received 529 votes after an emotional week in which they were disqualified by the elections committee, causing Bird and Newhall to miss their debate on Feb. 12. The committee’s decision was then reversed by ASUU’s Supreme Court the following night, an hour after voting closed.

“The general elections will be a new chapter for Team Unite, and we are excited to improve on what we did well,” Bird said. “There is no doubt in my mind that Team Unite has what it takes to accomplish the initiatives we want to see implemented.”

Justin Spangler and Madison Black of the Vision Party received the most votes in the primaries, with a total of 1,283 votes. Vision party’s senior vice presidential candidate Carli Carter did not make it past the primaries, leaving Vision with an empty slot on their ballot.

Florence Fernandez, the senior class presidential candidate from the Grow Party, said she has decided to fill the void on the Vision Party’s ballot.

“I have the unique opportunity to work with Justin and Madison and hope to influence their party as well,” Fernandez said. “Several Grow candidates are also joining the Vision Party, and I would hope to be their support with that transition.”

Spangler said that out of the 11 vacant slots on the ballot, six of these had been filled with Grow members by Monday, Feb. 17. Fernandez officially became a member of the Vision Party on Feb. 18. Spangler said he is optimistic that the remaining empty slots would be filled before the deadline on Feb. 18.

Team Unite also had openings on their ballots, and many of them were filled by the remaining members of the Grow Party.

A total 3,329 students voted for the president and vice president in the primary elections. Members of both Vision and Team Unite expressed concern over this and offered ideas on how to get more students to vote during the general elections from March 3 through March 7.

“I was really surprised at the voter turnout,” Black said. “I think it’s just a matter of people building trust.”

Spangler said the election season offers ASUU an opportunity to boost classroom announcements and student group activity.

Both parties said they recognize the hard work that the Grow Party, as well as other losing candidates, put into their campaigns.

“We have some great candidates who care so much about serving the students,” Bird said. “[They] worked extremely hard during the primaries, and it’s always sad to see individuals not make it through.”

n.turner@chronicle.utah.edu