SA’s legislative body is its senate, composed of 34 total seats. The seats are divided into different constituencies. Five seats are at-large. Each academic college, including the College of Law, the Graduate School and the new College of Health Sciences, receives two seats. Apartments, commuters and residence halls all get five, while Greek housing gets two, in accordance with relative population. Further, only half of the seats for a constituency are up for election per semester. In the case of an odd number of seats, the fall semester will have one more.
The election took place on September 23 and 24 on Harvey. Polling booths were open in the cafeteria and the student union. Voter turnout was high, with 590 total ballots cast compared to an average 300-350. SA Chief Elections Officer Colleen Yoder speculated that the change to using Harvey for voting is a possible reason for the rise in turnout. Elections used to be held over WebCT Vista.
There was also a slight change in the procedure. Preparing the election results requires the coordination of the three SA officials. In the past, this has been done over email. That process normally took 24-48 hours. Yoder wanted to expedite the process, so she met with Chief Justice Brittany Johnston and Information Services Executive Director Austin Fehr at 9:30 pm, half an hour after polls closed. The whole process was done before midnight. Having the vote count be completed and posted in one night also allowed The Collegian to be present.
Because the election took place over Harvey, Janet Cairns, TU’s Director of Academic and Learning Technology Services, had to edit out some personal information before sending the data to Fehr. He and Yoder computed the number of votes for each candidate. After that, Yoder entered that information into a PDF form that could be uploaded onto SA’s website. After receiving the signatures of both Yoder and Johnston, the document was uploaded.
The residence halls had three people on the ballot for an available three seats. However, Tate Atkinson and Michael Spencer Hartwig had been disqualified by the time voting took place, either for failing to meet certain requirements or for withdrawing. Luke Lau won one of the seats with 104 votes. Ricky Ricardo did not appear on the ballot but filed for a write-in campaign, so he will also receive one of the seats with nine votes.
Greek Housing had two people on the ballot for one available seat. Megan Grier won the seat with 68 votes as compared to Nadia Posluszny with 50.
Apartments had five people run for three available seats, though Shelby Branch was disqualified. The top three candidates are Saswat Das at 85 votes, incumbent Caitlyn Slattery with 84 and Hunter Goff with 69. Robert James Seaver received 30.
Commuters had four people run for three seats. However, Shahzaib Ali and Ohm Devani were disqualified. Michael Wentz and Eric Ko, who received 47 and 24 votes, respectively, will get two of the three seats.
The College of Arts and Sciences, which had two people running, will continue to be represented by Jennifer Steere, who received 124 votes against Kimberly Bartlett’s 22. Kaitlyn McKee, with 207 votes over Nathan Williams’ 81, will represent the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. The College of Business will be represented by Alex Garoffolo with 67 votes over Jeffrey Bacon’s 40. Former SA President Michael Mancini and Treasurer Nicole Coppola each competed for the Graduate School seat. Coppola won with 16 votes to Mancini’s ten. The College of Health Sciences and the College of Law both fielded no candidates.
Six people ran for the three at large seats, but Garrett Newsom was disqualified. The three highest ranking candidates are Patrick Culp with 255, incumbent Brett Baumgartner with 232 and incumbent John Talmage with 196. Alexander Reinert came in a very close fourth with 191 votes, and Lincoln Brown received 86.
These candidates will be sworn in on Tuesday, September 29 during the senate meeting. This election leaves four seats vacant for the fall semester: The College of Law, College of Health Sciences, Commuters and Residence Halls. SA Vice President Conner Wurth has the ability to appoint people to fill these seats as well as any left open from last spring. Typically people who either didn’t win in the election or whose names appeared in a write-in ballot get appointed, but that is not a rule. He hopes to have the seats for Commuters and Residence Halls filled by October 6, but people can be appointed at any time in the semester.