It’s not over yet. More voting is needed to decide who will be the next student body president.
Since no presidential candidate received more than 50 percent of this year’s 4,235 votes in the Student Government (SG) elections, two candidates will compete in a runoff election this week, supervisor of the Elections Rules Commission (ERC) Michael LeBlanc said Friday at the election results announcement in the Marshall Student Center (MSC) Ballroom.
Students can vote for presidential candidates Cesar Hernandez or Andrew Cohen starting Tuesday and Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Campus polling stations are located at Andros, Argos and Juniper-Poplar housing complexes, Cooper Hall, the Library Commons, College of Engineering, College of Business, College of Nursing, College of Public Health Lab, MSC and Greek Village.
Students can also vote online at usf.edu/vote or sg.usf.edu/vote.
“We’re so happy it’s these two tickets,” said Cohen, SG director of University and Community Affairs, who led both straw polls. “I’m happy. Obviously, I would’ve been happy if there wasn’t a runoff, but I’m happy.”
“They’re good competition,” said Matthew Diaz, SG senate president pro tempore and Cohen’s running mate. “It’s going to be a battle.”
Hernandez and running mate Spencer Montgomery received 32.5 percent of votes. Cohen and Diaz received 25.3 percent – just 15 votes more than Christopher Leddy and running mate Scott Howard who claimed 24.9 percent.
Hernandez, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, said his near win is a major accomplishment.
“A lot of people say we came out of nowhere … and people are always doubting us, saying, ‘Who are you?'” he said. “It’s not just a campaign, it’s more of a movement.”
Two weeks ago, Cohen filed six grievances against Hernandez and Montgomery, who is also the SG associate director of Student Life and Traditions, claiming Facebook photos implied university endorsement and violated SG statutes.
On Friday, the SG Supreme Court overuled the ERC’s decision to assess five points for the photos, which depicted Hernandez and Montgomery posing with school mascot Rocky D. Bull and standing in front of USF logos.
Presidential candidate Daniel Dunn and his campaign filed 22 grievances against Cohen and his campaign for violations such as implied endorsement, misuse of materials, harassment, providing false information and reckless behavior.
The ERC issued five points against Cohen’s campaign at a hearing last week for a grievance that claimed a Facebook photo showing Cohen holding what appeared to be a handgun and container of alcohol was a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Cohen and his campaign are appealing the points to the Supreme Court at a hearing Wednesday.
Leddy, who ran for president last year and lost in the runoff against SG President Juan Soltero, said his campaign did the best they could to win.
“I don’t know if I will be running again. It’s tough and it gets tougher,” said Leddy, a senior majoring in political science and history. “It was close, it was very close.”
Tim Moore, a junior majoring in business management who received 7.1 percent of the votes, said he tried his best to campaign and win.
“We worked hard at it … but I think it was a good experience,” he said.
Daquiri Jones, running mate of presidential candidate Daniel Dunn, said their campaign doesn’t care for the results and are not finished with their job.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s over,” said Jones, a senior double majoring in cultural anthropology and women’s studies. “I can’t go into detail right now, but you haven’t heard the end of Dunn-Jones.”
ERC hoped for a total of 10,000 votes this year, LeBlanc said during the announcement of the election results.
LeBlanc said the 4,235 votes – an increase of nearly 1,000 from last year’s 3,236 – is a step in the right direction to increase voter turnout.
“At the same time, it’s really easy to place blame on the weather, internal fighting between campaigns and technical difficulties,” he said. “The students said they wanted to vote, and they came out a lot better than they did last year.”
Additional reporting by Anastasia Dawson and Kelli Polson