Fritz Morlant, Gabe Abello elected for 2023-24 BYUSA presidency

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Fritz Morlant (right) and Gabe Abello (left) are the new BYUSA President and Vice President. Morlant and Abello won the election after students cast their votes on March 2. (Photo courtesy of Fritz Morlant)

Fritz Morlant and Gabe Abello won the election for BYUSA President and Executive Vice President for the 2023-24 school year on March 2.

The results were announced after students cast their votes between Morlant and Abello, Lexie Awerkamp and Seth Allred and Savanna Shiman and Claire Johnson. 

“I’m feeling very happy and excited but also very tired,” Morlant said.

Voting took place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, with candidates and their volunteers spending hours talking to students on campus and encouraging them to vote. The results were announced shortly after the voting period finished.

“It’s so surreal,” said Abello. “It’s all because of the people and what they were wanting to see and hoping to hear and we were able to, you know, show that for them.” 

Candidates and their volunteers were on campus most of the day Thursday to encourage students to vote. Volunteers Claire Jenkins and Ryan Scoffield pose together as they volunteer to encourage students to vote for Lexie Awerkamp and Seth Allred. (Annika Ohran)

The voting was conducted with a ranking system for the first time this year. Voters ranked the three sets of candidates as their first, second and third preference, current BYUSA President Ethan Baker said. If there is a clear majority of 50% of the first place votes or higher for one set of candidates, those candidates would automatically win. 

However, as was the case with the election this year, if there is no clear majority, the pair with the least amount of first-place votes is dropped and votes for them are removed. The second and third place votes of those students are then moved to first and second place votes and the percentages are recalculated to determine who has a majority, Baker said. There were 5460 student votes this year, according to Baker. After narrowing it down to the top two sets of candidates, Morlant and Abello won with 56.1% of the vote. 

Abello said he and Morlant want to work to accomplish their goals and fulfill the promises they have made to students. 

Abello poses with the members of his campaign team after hearing the results of the elections. Fritz and Abello campaigned under the motto, “Let’s Show the World Y.” (Annika Ohran)

“I think we really want to continue to help the students be united and we want to create fun activities for them,” Morlant said. “We want students to see why we love BYU so much and we want to show the world Y.”

Morlant said their ability to bring people together is what contributed to him and Abello winning the election. “I don’t think it’s because we were popular or anything like that, because we both felt like we were kind of outsiders coming in to like BYUSA. But we had so many ideas and we had built such a community that people just wanted to help us continue on this journey,” Morlant said. 

Morlant wants to help students enjoy their BYU experience and to continue to want to be at BYU. Morlant discusses his priorities now that he is elected. (Annika Ohran)
Abello and Morlant said they are ready to work to implement their goals and help students enjoy their BYU experience. Abello and Morlant together in the Wilkinson Center after the election results were announced. (Annika Ohran)

Abello and Morlant’s campaign also utilized online and digital media and had “amazing reception” there. Abello said he learned a lot from running for office and from the other candidates, and that it was a wonderful time of growth for all of them.

Kailey Marshall, Abello and Morlant’s campaign manager, said their success was due to their vision for the campus. “Everything was about building a bridge with the students,” Marshall said. “(We were) able to find this happy medium where we could bring positivity to the campus and show people why we love BYU but at the same time, give a voice to minority groups.”

Miko Gardiner, BYUSA student elections coordinator, said having individual connections with students on campus is an important factor in who wins the elections. Recognition encourages students to vote for someone, and that can make a big difference, Gardiner said. 

Gardiner said she enjoyed her experience working with each of the candidates. “They’re really passionate and it’s really cool to be able to see that there’s students on campus who really do care so much about the university, and it’s inspiring to see them working so hard towards something that they believe so firmly,” Gardiner said. 

Morlant and Abello will begin their presidency right away, Gardiner said, with the first step being interviewing and selecting other students as members of their presidency. 

Morlant and Abello will take office soon, and their first step is to select their presidency members. Abello talks about the steps they will take now that they are elected. (Annika Ohran)
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