Cheers erupted and hugs were shared the west corner of the Sun Dome on Wednesday night as the basketball announcer read the results of the student body elections.
In a vote of 2,531 to 1,013, Barclay Harless and running mate Garin Flowers beat opponent Jessica Asuncion and running mate Tony Caldwell.
Harless and Flowers celebrated with campaign supporters for the better part of the second half, while fraternity chants and dancing surrounded them.
“I’m just so happy that all our supporters were there (at the announcement),” Harless said. “It’s a celebration more for our supporters than for us.”
Among those in attendance for the announcement were student body President Frank Harrison and Vice President Faran Abbasi, as well as several members of Student Government and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Kevin Banks.
“I think (Harless) is committed to doing a good job. He’s made that clear in the conversations he’s had with me,” Banks said. “I think (Harless) is committed, and I think his ticket is committed.”
Asuncion and Caldwell were not at the Sun Dome for the announcement, but they said a campaign staff member notified them of the results.
An unconventional win in an unconventional way Not very much of this campaign season has been typical of those in years past, and to follow suit, the announcement of the champion was just as innovative.
In past years, the winner has been announced outside the Phyllis P. Marshall Center within minutes of the polls closing, but this year was much different.
Supervisor of Elections Devin Lee originally thought of reading the results at halftime, and then presenting the winner with a certificate and shaking hands at halfcourt.
According to Lee, however, since the Asuncion/Caldwell ticket chose not to come to the announcement, he thought it best not to bring the victors out on the court. Instead, Harless, Flowers and the crowd stood on the second floor near Entry Two.
Also, because the Election Rules Commission chose to wait until halftime, the announcement wasn’t made until about 7:45 p.m. – roughly 45 minutes after the polls closed.
Other major changes stemming from this season included allowing candidates to recruit any person they choose to work on their campaign as opposed to a set list of campaigners, and allowing candidates to set up their own personal polling stations.
This year was also seen as out of the norm because neither ticket filed a single grievance against one another. In the past, several tickets have come to the brink of being disqualified for too many violations.
Finally, the most noticeable difference may stem from the number of tickets running – or lack thereof. With only two competing this season, it is a far cry from the 2005 election when there were six tickets or even the 2006 elections when there were four.
What will happen next?
According to SG senator Jason Taylor, the Internal Affairs committee will be investigating the actions of Lee and the ERC beginning Tuesday morning. The committee will be calling into question the marketing practices of the ERC and reviewing its budget.
Several senators said they are concerned that the election wasn’t marketed well enough, causing many students not to vote.
The amount of students voting this year is 3,544, up from last year’s first round of elections at 3,361 and second round at 3,255; but down from the 2005 elections when the first round totaled at 4,969 and the second at 4,098.
As for the Asuncion/Caldwell ticket, they said they cannot comment at this time on whether they plan to contest the election because they are trying to assess their options and don’t want to hinder any opportunities they may have by speaking too soon.