The Students’ Association elections went off with only minor problems this past week, for the first time in years. From Monday to Wednesday night, in Wilson Commons and on the SA Web site, students voted for area senators and members of the Freshman Class Council.
“We will have certified results by Friday and new senators will be able to take their seats at Monday’s senate meeting,” said senior Pete Nabozny, Election Committee Chair and Deputy Speaker of the Senate.
Although the official results are not yet known, the unofficial results are available for five of the seven area races and for the Freshman Class Council. The wait is due to 15 paper ballots which must be certified by Steve Song of the Information Technology Services, according to Nabozny.
Currently, only two races remain questionable. The Fraternity Quad race between junior Alex Brody and write-in candidate and junior Matt Baccash currently sits at an 18-17 near-stalemate. Due to the 15 ballots yet to be counted, the race cannot be called yet.
The off-campus race also remains undecided, although junior Terence Cordner captured 13 votes, giving him a commanding lead over write-in candidate and junior Jessica Cummings, four votes. According to Nabozny, Cordner has informed the elections committee that he will not be able to carry out his term as senator.
Cummings leads the remaining race with four votes, followed by write-in candidate and senior Audrey Stewart with three votes. Again, the 15 outstanding ballots could change the decision, so it has not been called yet.
Most students did not experience any difficulty voting.
“The voting system has behaved better in this election than at any time since I’ve been here,” Nabozny said. “Steve Song, who is running the election from ITS, and Laura Ballou, who works in the SAO and advises the class council, really worked hard this summer to get the bugs out, and they deserve a lot of credit.”
Improvements to the online voting system were made over the summer. Users’ NetID passwords are now automatically matched with their e-mail password after the account is first initialized. Additionally, the system now allows class councils to hold their elections online according to Assistant Director of Student Programs Laura Ballou.
“I’m excited to begin working with a new class council,” Ballou said. “With 21 people running for nine spots, it seems that there is a much greater student interest in student government than in recent years.”
According to Nabozny, the overall turnout was actually higher than usual for a fall election at approximately 17 percent.Turn out was especially high among freshman, due to SA targeting.
“It is actually an uptick. Most of the votes cast were in Sue B.,” Nabozny said. “It was a contested election and there was a class council election.”
The unofficial Sue B. Freshman Class Council winners are Feisal Adan, Mike Bozzella, Rachel Thibo, Natassia Dingman and Tess Townsend. Jackie Borchardt, Adam Machson-Carter, Elizabeth McDonald and Alexander Pearlman are the unofficial winners for the Quad area.
There was only one report of an election rule violation.
“A student running for a Senate seat in Sue B. has engaged in ‘dorm storming’ throughout the building,” Nabozny said. “He has allegedly been banging on doors throughout the building and urging people to vote for him when they answer the door.”
As a consequence for violating the rules, the Elections Committee has disqualified freshman Brian Clancy, who received 35 votes in the Susan B. Anthony senate race. It was not enough to win either of the seats.
Susan B. Anthony Residence Halls had the highest voter turnout, with 317 votes cast. Freshman James Alexander and sophomore Matt Goldblatt won the hotly contested seats, with 90 and 79 votes. They beat out the two other registered and qualified candidates – freshmen Clyde Brown, Veronica Rodriguez – along with a number of write-in candidates.
In the Quad senator elections, freshman Nick Roosa and sophomore Gordon Arsenoff won the seats with 113 and 103 votes respectively. The pair took the majority of the 283 votes cast, with the remaining split between numerous write-in candidates.
The Graduate Living Center seat went to junior C. Douglass Battenhausen with 22 votes, 13 more than the runner-up senior Matt Strabone.
Sophomore Preeyel Dalal and senior Brian Warsop gained the Towers area seats with 33 and 30 votes, respectively. Hill Court seats went to juniors Krystle Dixon and Steve D’Amico. They gained the plurality of the 89 votes cast, with 36 and 28, respectively.
Overall, Nabozny was satisfied with the elections, but hopes turnout will continue to increase.
“I’m pretty happy with the freshman turnout,” Nabozny said. “As for the upperclassmen, they’ve seen student government has been inept and plagued with infighting. We hope they will see a change this semester.”
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