SG election triggers runoff

Graphic by Alesandra Bell | Mercury Staff.


Last week’s Student Government election resulted in a runoff between the top two presidential candidates, guaranteeing that a president and vice president from different tickets would serve the student body in the most contested election in SG history.

Political science junior Ayoub Mohammed of the Labor ticket and neuroscience senior Danni Yang of the Ignite ticket are set to go head-to-head in the runoff election, scheduled for Wednesday.

Public affairs junior Hope Cory of the Tier One ticket won the vice presidency with 37.8% of the vote. Her running mate, Trevor Schmaeling, finished third in the presidential race.

Student Government bylaws dictate that in a three-candidate presidential race, the candidate with the most votes must command at least 40% of the total votes to win and must have a margin of victory greater than 1%. Neither Yang nor Mohammed won 40% of the vote. Yang garnered six more votes than Mohammed, well within the margin.

“It’s an honor just to be in this runoff. That clearly shows that we do still have supporters and that there are students passionate about our ticket and campaign,” Yang said. “Mostly, my thoughts were just next steps. What can I do to incentivize more students to vote and make sure that hopefully all student voices are represented?”

Mohammed said he was motivated by the fact that eight senators on his ticket had been elected.

“I’m just really excited,” Mohammed said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, spreading our message and platform, and hopefully we’ll win (on) Wednesday.”

A total of 3,424 votes were cast in this year’s election, representing a 55% increase from last year. Nearly 12% of the student body voted in this year’s election, a 3.5% increase from 2018.

Economics senior Alexander Holcomb, the current chair of SG’s Election Board, partly attributed the increase in turnout to a larger election budget.

“We spent a considerable amount on getting the word out (and) putting marketing materials out there,” he said. “Most of it was going to social media, trying to hit people who typically wouldn’t have been involved in Student Government.”

Holcomb said the rise in voter turnout was a positive step for SG.

“It’s pretty encouraging,” he said. “Whenever you think of the amount of exposure that SG has to the student body, I think that the more that it has, the more effective it can be.”

Mohammed said while the uptick in turnout was encouraging, there is still more work to be done.

“I still think (12%) is a very small number, and it could be way higher,” he said.

In runoff elections, candidates can only spend up to $100, which is 20% of what they can spend in standard elections. Both Yang and Mohammed said they were working to ensure students were aware they would have to vote again in the runoff.

Cory said she was looking forward to working with either of the runoff candidates, both of whom ran on different tickets.

“It was also unexpected that Trevor didn’t get it. We knew that was a possibility going in,” Cory said. “Everything that I stuck by on my ticket — the platform, the initiatives — will still be carried over.”

Incumbent SG president Eric Chen was elected as a senior senator, winning 12.2% of the vote. Incumbent vice president Carla Ramazan ran for the Senate seat to represent EPPS, beating her opponent, Thomas Hobohm of the Labor ticket, by one vote.

Students will receive an email on Wednesday with instructions on how to cast their votes for the runoff. Voting will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the results will be announced no later than 6 p.m.


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