Juniors Matt Goldblatt and Katherine Del Balso were officially named winners of the 2005-06 Students’ Association presidential and vice-presidential elections late Thursday afternoon.

“Our campaign went very well – I think our ticket had a variety of support that was able to come together for the eventual win,” Goldblatt said. “I feel it was a model election for this campus. To my knowledge, everything for every candidate went smoothly and cleanly. Each candidate stood on their strengths and didn’t rely very much on bashing other candidates or becoming overly competitive.”

With the highest voter turnout in recent history and 1,430 votes cast for the presidential election alone, the election turned out to be a close one, with less than 100 votes separating each candidate.

“I think this election as a whole was a great success,” Del Balso said. “Voter participation was extremely high and all candidates who ran really deserve a lot of respect for the time, hard work and effort they put forth in their respective campaigns.”

The election committee determined that Goldblatt won 542 votes, senators and junior David Ladon and sophomore Brian Clancy collected 476 votes and juniors Michael Guerra and Jeff Keesing received 385 votes.

“It was a pretty positive, competitive election,” Assistant Director of Wilson Commons Student Activities and advisor to the Elections Committee Laura Ballou said. “This year, we had three really qualified tickets that led people to come out and vote.”

The results were announced on the SA elections Web site, after a delay in accessing the vote tabulations.

“Now it will be fixed – now that the SA has communicated to ITS how the elections should be tabulated,” Ballou said.

Although disappointed about their loss, the two other candidates reacted positively to the results.

“It’s a bummer, but the community has spoken and Matt and Katherine will do the job well,” Ladon said. “I’m still going to be involved because the only way to make change is to be involved. Although this is an obstacle, I am still going to make changes and work with Matt and Katherine to help them accomplish our goals. I agree with their platform, because people don’t take advantage of opportunities that UR has to offer.”

Guerra agrees with Ladon on this idea. “As a senior, I do not yet know to what extent I will be involved with student government,” he said. “While obviously disappointed with the results, I am happy for Matt and Katherine. I consider them good friends, and, as a pair, they have a lot of potential. I have always worked well with [them] and could see myself getting involved with their administration if they are interested.”

Goldblatt and Del Balso are very welcoming to this input.

“We plan on involving both Mike and Dave in the coming year, and this will help unite the broad student body of individuals who potentially voted otherwise in this election,” Goldblatt said.

Outgoing SA President and senior Pete Nabozny supports Goldblatt’s win.

“I’m confident that Matt will do a great job as president,” Nabozny said. “I think his accessibility and wide range of interests and activities will serve him well as president. I look forward to helping him with the transition and seeing positive results from his presidency next year.”

Goldblatt plans to begin work right away.

“I will be planning meetings with various directors, deans and administrators to get them onboard with addressing student concerns, such as monthly or bi-monthly open forums,” Goldblatt said.

He and Del Balso plan to continue improving communication within the student body.

“We definitely want to see better communication between the SA and other facets of student involvement on campus,” Goldblatt said. “We will be setting up a structure for this to be able to occur.”

The two stress the importance of contacting members of the student body.

“Next year we will both be holding daily office hours in which all individuals may come and talk with us to communicate their concerns, ideas, suggestions and opinions about the university and student life,” Del Balso said. “We plan on holding a town meeting very soon in which all members of the student body may attend and suggest ways in which student life may be improved on campus.”

Without a clear majority win, some may be worried about the winners’ ability to lead the entire student body. However, Goldblatt disagrees.

“I do not foresee any major problems coming from the split votes,” he said. “Though the votes were split, there was very little in the way of smear campaigns and thus, hopefully very little negative sentiment.”

The close vote comes in a year where the competition was great and many students came out to vote.

“Competitiveness is great for the student body and student government,” Speaker of the Senate and senior Tom Hayes said. “The more competition you see, the greater ability of the leaders and the actual representation of the student body. This is the closest election I can remember. Also, the nine people running for freshman class seats was fantastic, and this is something I want to see more in future. It shows that UR and admissions are bringing in really dedicated people who want to get involved.”

This was also the first year that a vice president was on the ticket with the president.

“I think it was good that we had the vice president on the ticket,” Clancy said. “It gets more voters because there are two people who straddle the campus. Their strengths appeal to many different groups of people, so it is better for coalescing student opinion. I think Matt and Katherine are going to be great.”

Borchardt can be reached at jborchardt@campustimes.org.

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