Students have voted and a student body president will be named tonight – maybe.
An election results party will be held in the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater tonight at 8:30. However, because a candidate must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to secure the presidency, it is possible that tonight’s announcement may only narrow the race.
“If no candidate wins one vote over 50 percent, then that will result in a run-off election,” Student Government (SG) Supervisor of Elections Andrew Uhlir said.
Uhlir said a run-off election is when the top two candidates advance to a two-ticket election and continue campaigning for another week.
SG elections that do not end in a run-off are rare. Only two elections in the last eight years have ended without a run-off, in 2002 and 2007. In both cases, only two tickets ran for the presidency at the outset.
Jason Funes, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences and philosophy, said he expects to be advancing to a run-off election.
“I feel we’ve done a lot of work and we’ve gained a lot of ground,” he said. “I feel that it will come down to a run-off election on Monday, and I feel confident we’ll be a part of that.”
Funes said he has been working hard to place his ticket at the forefront of the election.
“I’m losing sleep,” he said. “I’ve been skipping meals, I’ve been barely keeping up with my classes, but I feel justified that I’m doing this for the right reasons.”
Matthew Diaz, a senior majoring in philosophy and political science, said he was also confident about his chances going into Thursday, but stopped short of making any predictions.
“I feel good, we’ve gotten our message out,” he said. “We’ve been kept very busy all this week. I’m looking forward to this weekend to get some sleep.”
Melissa Leddy, a junior majoring in marketing and finance, said she has also kept long hours this week in a final campaigning effort.
“We wake up 8 (a.m.) or 9 (a.m.), we actually woke up at 7 (a.m.) the other day,” she said. “At night we’re still out campaigning and we usually don’t go to bed until 3 (a.m.) or 4 (a.m.) from just organizing everything and getting things ready for the next day.”
Leddy declined to evaluate how well she feels she is doing with her bid for the presidency.
“We have a really good platform and we’re getting a really good turnout,” she said. “But I don’t want to jinx anything. I think all the tickets are really great this year.”
Regardless of whether she wins the presidency, Leddy said she would be willing to work with other candidates. However, some of her viewpoints cannot be swayed, she said.
“Some candidates spoke about raising (student-paid) Activity and Service fees, but that’s something we won’t really budge on,” she said.
Jason Prado, a junior majoring in business management, said the candidates have already begun discussing cooperation after the election.
“I think all four of us, each ticket, has expressed that regardless of the outcome of this election that they’re willing to get help getting their messages heard,” he said. “Every ticket has great ideas in various topics.”
He said he has been campaigning past midnight and 1 a.m. this week.
“It’s been long nights, but for me it’s important to be out there, showing up, getting the students opinions on different topics,” he said. “Just hanging out in front of Andros (dining hall), talking to students or talking things over while getting some grub.”
Like Leddy, Prado did not want to predict his outcome in the election.
“I try not to get too high or too low,” he said. “My main goal by the time I graduate and leave the Sun Dome in my cap and gown is to make USF a better place.”
Diaz cited precedence in his argument for working with other candidates should he win or lose the election. He said in the wake of the 2008 student body presidential elections the winning candidate, Gregory “Butters” Morgan, included a member from each of the three losing tickets in his presidential cabinet.
“I think if their views are along with mine (and) if their passion is as strong for this University, than absolutely I would work with them,” Diaz said.
Funes agreed with the other three candidates and said he would cooperate with anyone who was open to new ideas.
“(If I win, I’ll) need to learn as much as I can from anybody. I think it’s important to reach out to people with know-how,” he said. “(If I lose), if somebody else is open enough to consider me for new ideas or for implementing new policies, then I would whole-heartedly look forward to improving the daily lives of students.”
In the event of a run-off election, voting would be held March 1 and March 2 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A winner would be announced during a run-off election results party at 8:30 p.m. March 2.