No presidential winner announced yet in SGA elections

Additional complaints to be reviewed


Alvin Buyinza/Collegian

By Kathrine Esten and Alvin Buyinza

As of Sunday, the Student Government Association Elections Commission has still yet to ratify a winner for the spring 2019 presidential and vice presidential race.

Results were confirmed for all other races and ballot questions held in the elections, as well as total percentages of student turnout.

According to the elections report, incumbent SGA President Timmy Sullivan and Vice Presidential candidate Hayden Latimer-Ireland received 40.8 percent of the total electorate vote. Only 12 votes behind, the Allie McCandless and Moksha Padmaraju ticket placed second in initial results with 1,511 votes, or 40.48 percent of the electorate.

In a distant third place, Stephanie Margolis and Colleen Coakley received 617 votes, or 16.53 percent of the votes cast.

Compared to the 2018 SGA elections, student turnout decreased slightly, from 17.8 percent of the student body in 2018 to 17.5 percent in 2019.

No clear winner in sight

Early Friday morning, the candidates waiting for results were under the impression that a special election would be held between the two highest vote-getting candidates, presumably the Sullivan and McCandless tickets.

According to SGA Senator Timothy Conceison, the election was drawn too close between the two tickets and a special election is likely to take place. However, this is not confirmed.

Sullivan reacted to the news of a possible second election positively, saying, “[Latimer-Ireland and I] are so convinced and motivated by the vision we have for this campus that we are willing to do this a million times over.”

Latimer-Ireland added that she had “no idea this was an option,” but that she “can’t wait to work with [their] team again.”

Coakley said that despite her ticket’s loss, she wants to stay involved in the UMass community and plans to run again for her current position as president of the University Programming Council. She additionally wants to continue working on the Academic Oversight Committee.

“All the presidential tickets really ran great campaigns this year,” she said, adding that she wanted to congratulate the other tickets and trustee Jake Binnall.

Binnall, the uncontested candidate for student trustee, won with 3,435 votes.

Election complaints draw suspensions

An emailed report forwarded to candidates Saturday stated that “after the raw results were reviewed on Friday morning, the Commission received several more complaints,” which have not been reviewed.

The report includes 13 reviewed complaints, all but one concerning the presidential and vice presidential race. Four complaints, submitted by McCandless, concern the Margolis ticket’s use of Registered Student Organization resources; one complaint resulted in a suspension.

One complaint issued against the McCandless team by Sonya Epstein was denied.

Seven complaints were issued against Sullivan and Latimer-Ireland, two of which resulted in suspensions.

An email and Facebook post by the Residential Assistants/Peer Mentor Union in support of Sullivan and Latimer-Ireland prompted four of these complaints by McCandless, Coakley, Margolis and Conceison. The Sullivan ticket was suspended as a result.

However, in a pre-results interview, Sullivan claimed that the elections commission typically only controls RSOs, agencies and student business. Since the RA/PM Union is a legal entity which exists as part of the greater Commonwealth, Sullivan argued that it would therefore not be under the commission’s jurisdiction.

According to the Title VIII, Chapter 20, Section 3 of the SGA bylaws, if the election results are not ratified by the undergraduate senate within 30 days of the election, the Commission will call a special election and re-cast the ballots.

For a presidential race, the bylaws dictate that the candidate must win a plurality of votes. In 2015, a similarly close race was decided by four votes, when then-candidates Sïonan Barrett and Chantal Lima Barbosa became SGA president and vice president, respectively.

Passed resolutions

Additionally, all three ballot resolutions passed overwhelmingly.

Question one, which proposed that the University transitions to 100 percent renewable energy to combat climate change, passed with 92 percent of votes in the affirmative.

Question two concerning the $11 waivable fee that funds the UMass chapter of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group and other chapters across the state passed with 76 percent approval.

The UMass chapter has been running since 1972, making it one of the oldest PIRG chapters in the state. The ballot question confirmed the fee for the next two academic years, at which point another reaffirmation will occur.

Question three concerning the “Fund our Future” bills, the PROMISE Act and CHERISH Act, passed with a 93 percent positive vote, recommending that UMass President Marty Meehan, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy and the University Board of Trustees endorse the bills.

The resolution was supported by the Center for Education Policy and Advocacy. James Cordero, an organizer for CEPA, stated that this was a “great step forward” in terms of reducing the cost of higher education at UMass.

All election results will need to be confirmed by the SGA senate before being made official. This story will continue to be followed.

Correction: An earlier version of this article included an incorrect percent of students voting in 2019 SGA Elections. It has been updated to reflect the correct figure.

Kathrine Esten can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @KathrineEsten. Alvin Buyinza can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @abuyinzanews.