The first Independent candidate elected to the ASUCD Senate after Choice Voting was enacted was Donald Cohen-Cutler who ran under the catch phrase "Break the Slate" in the Winter 2005 ASUCD Election and had significant support, placing second in first-round-votes. Adam Gerber was a self-described Independent, though he never ran for Senate, who was appointed by the ASUCD President Kalen Gallagher to fill a vacancy on the ASUCD Senate. In the Winter 2009 ASUCD Election Joe Chatham and Chris Dietrich were elected as an independent Executive ticket, the first Independent ticket to be elected since at least 2000. The Winter 2012 ASUCD Election saw the most Independents elected in recent history with Independents winning 5 of the 6 Senate seats and the executive race. This was an unusual election because it happened after the slate which dominated the previous 3 elections, BOLD, ceased to run candidates and no slate filled its place. SMART did run a full slate of candidates but gained less than 1/3 of the first round votes and all of the remaining Senate candidates, as well as both executive tickets, were Independents.
Since the ASUCD Senate is not a parliamentary system and there is no official declaration of slate, party or caucus membership, once a candidate is elected it can often be irrelevant whether they were elected as a member of a particular slate or as an Independent. As a result, once a Senator is in office they may not always vote the same way as their fellow slate members. There have been Senators who ran with a slate but either chose to disaffiliate with the slate (as with Ari Kalfayan from Student Focus, or Tiny Sanders from LEAD) or disband it all together (as in the case of Rob Roy and Kristen Birdsall with Friends Urging Campus Kindness).
Candidates who choose to run as Independents instead of members of slates will do so for varying reasons. Oftentimes they are outsiders who are not involved in slate politics or they prefer the freedom to campaign unaffiliated with other candidates. Running as an Independent can also allow the candidate to make themselves stand out more than they may have been able to if they were a member of a slate. While it can be argued that it is more difficult to get elected as an independent than as a member of a slate, there does seem to be evidence for voters viewing Independent candidates as something of a slate. Voters who support one Independent candidate have a tendency to rank other Independent candidates higher as well. This can be seen by running Countback Elections and noticing that eliminating an elected-Independent candidate will tend to result in another Independent candidate filling their seat.
Elected Independent Senate Candidates
(From 2001 through 2012)
* Ryan Meyerhoff was elected in a Countback Election in Spring 2011, fulfilling the remainder of Eli Yani's term.
** Senators Han, Bottoms, and Gilbert were part of the "Do Work Team" with the successful executive ticket of Rebecca Sterling and Yena Bae which became NOW in the following election, so their consideration as independents is largely in name only.
Elected Independent Executive Tickets
(From 2000 through 2012)
Recent Independent Candidates: Winter 2013
Past Independent Candidates
There have been roughly 100 Independent candidates running for office in ASUCD in the past 10+ years. See the ASUCD Elections page for more information on the candidates for a particular election.
Ex-Senator Adam Barr offered this advice to Independent candidates in 2003:
"...their ineffective campaigns - or lack thereof - that caused them to fall to the bottom of the pack. I did not know who any of the independent candidates were until I saw their faces on the elections website, and I am a regular reader of The Aggie and a student leader. None of them took the time to come to any of my organization's meetings and few bothered to post fliers or chalk in classrooms...Future independent candidates should learn from the mistakes of their predecessors and launch a legitimate campaign at least two weeks before the election if they hope to have a decent chance at claiming a seat in our student government. You will not be elected if your campaign consists of sending out an e-mail announcement two days before the election with a request to contact you for more information. Let's be real." (source)