SGA Votes Don’t Add Up
March 27, 2009 1 Comment
by Grace Chambers
The results of the Student Government Association’s election for the 2009-2010 school year were announced last Friday, but a reported discrepancy in vote totals has now come to light and at least one candidate plans to ask for a formal review.
The official totals released by SGA show that out of 862 eligible voters, 439 students cast ballots. A review of the roster of eligible voters, on which names were highlighted to denote who had voted, shows that only 396 names were highlighted, a discrepancy of 43 votes. The official results show that 432 voted for president, 427 for vice president, 427 for secretary and 433 for treasurer.
Attempts to reach SGA President Molly Burchett were unsuccessful, and SGA Elections Chair Kaushik Mohan would not speak on the record about this issue.
Although no formal complaint was registered within the 24 hours allotted by the SGA Constitution, when asked about the discrepancy, Dean of Students Michael Vetter said the president and the election committee should discuss and determine how they want to respond.
“Certainly, I think when there is some question about elections, I think the organization will need to evaluate and study it and decide if there needs to be any action taken. Sometimes there maybe needs to be some action taken. Sometimes we just need to go forward,” Vetter said.
The race for president between senior Jacob Brumfield and junior Tyler Murphy was close, but official totals show Brumfield won by a margin of 22 votes. When contacted about differences in vote totals, Murphy said he plans to ask for a formal review of the election procedures “to ensure the integrity of the process.”
“In light of this information, we must examine and verify these reports before making any claims about the finality of the SGA elections,” Murphy said. “I am confident that all the other candidates involved will agree.”
In addition, Murphy said, “SGA serves as an important representative voice of the student body and the wishes of the student body must be reflected in our elections through a method that is fair, forthright and fully consistent with our constitution and bylaws. To do otherwise would violate the deep trust the students’ place in us to fully reflect their wishes and concerns.”
Brumfield was also not available for comment.
The official election results are as follows: president- Jacob Brumfield 227/52.55%, Tyler Murphy 205/ 47.45%; vice president- Joshua Schwartz 239/ 55.97%, Prya Murad 188/ 44.03%; secretary- Anderson Salinas 190/ 44.49%, Chelsea Sharpe 141/ 33.02%, H.B. Elam 96/ 22.48%; treasurer- Jessica Short 198/45.73%, Rewa Zakharia 99/22.86%, Josh Edge 89/ 20.55%, Kristen Ballard 47/ 10.85%.
Also on this year’s ballot was the following question: “SGA has discussed the possibility of having the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as part of Thanksgiving Break. Provided we can accomplish this for the 2010 Fall Term, which of these three options would you prefer:” Leave Calendar as is 255/ 58.76%; Eliminate Wed., have class on Labor Day- 102/ 23.50%; Eliminate Wed., have class on Reading Day- 77/ 17.74%.
Because no one had a majority of the vote in the secretary and treasurer races, a run-off was held on Monday and Tuesday. Salinas won the secretary run-off, and Short won the treasurer run-off.