GUSA’s annual Senate elections closed on Sept. 29 and results were released the next day. A total of 57 registered candidates ran for 32 available seats.
There were several changes in the election process this year. According to Grady Willard (SFS ‘18), chair of GUSA’s Election Commission, this was the first Senate election in which voters could cast ballots for up to three write-in candidates. Previously, voters could only submit one name as a write-in candidate, but GUSA changed the by-laws in Feb. Furthermore, GUSA by-laws require periodic redistricting, and this past election was the first with the new districts.
These changes likely increased the number of candidates running in LXR. According to Willard, the residence historically had few candidates, but the new redistricting map pairs it with dorms that traditionally have more.
Technical problems delayed election results in the at-large race while problems with candidates not submitting receipts delayed results in the North Campus, Freshman North, Central Campus, and Off-Campus districts, according to the GUSA Election Commission’s Twitter page.
“Generally, candidates have been very good getting receipts in. This is the first year that we had serious problems. I don’t know why that was the case,” Willard said. “I think there was some confusion about who you submit your receipts to so maybe that’s our bad, and we can make that a little bit clearer. The problem was so widespread that I’m not really sure why it’s so different than previous years.”
However, the delays were only temporary, and the Election Commission published all of the results on its Twitter feed by Friday afternoon.
“Chicken Madness,” a reference to the Wisemiller’s sandwich, won as a write-in candidate in the off-campus district. The sandwich previously ran in the GUSA Executive election this past February with “Hot Chick,” another Wisemiller’s sandwich, joining it on the ticket.
However, according to Willard, GUSA by-laws require senators to be undergraduate students so the Election Commission recommended that the GUSA Senate confirm a different candidate. The Senate elected the write-in candidate with the next highest number of votes, Alejandro Serrano (MSB ‘17), to the seat.
According to the GUSA Election Commission’s Twitter feed, voter turnout ranged from nine percent to 49 percent depending on the district. The freshmen districts reported the highest voter turnout with 49 percent voting in Freshman North and 44 percent voting in Freshman South. Off-campus reported the lowest voter turnout of only 9 percent.
In the East Campus district, consisting of Alumni Square, LXR, the Townhouses, and Nevils, four candidates ran for an equal number of seats. Zainab Feroze (SFS ’18), Alexander Bobroske (SFS ’17), Saad Bashir (COL ’19), and Habon Ali (SFS ‘18) won these four seats.
In the North Campus district, which consists of Arrupe and Henle, a total of five candidates ran for three seats which Jack Pelose (COL ’19), Owen Hayes (COL ’18), and William Morris (COL ’19) won.
In the South Campus district, consisting solely of Village A, three candidates ran for two seats. Henry Callander (COL ’18) and Chris Grocki (MSB ’17) won.
In the Freshman South district, comprised of New South and Village C West, a total of eleven candidates competed for three available seats. Charles Hajjar (MSB ’20), Javon Price (SFS ’20), and Zach Oschin (SFS ’20) won these three seats.
In the Freshman North district, consisting of Darnall and Harbin, fourteen candidates ran for the three available seats. Josh Sirois (SFS ’20), Billy O’Carroll (SFS ’20), and Aneesh Rahangdale (COL ’20) won.
In the Central Campus district, which consists of Copley, the Former Jesuit Residence, and Village C East, five candidates ran for the three available seats which Caroline Barnes (COL ’19), Evan Farrara (COL ’19), and Hunter Estes (SFS ’19) won.
In the West Campus district, consisting only of the Southwest Quad, five candidates ran for the three available seat which. Isaac Liu (COL ’20), Jasmin Ouseph (SFS ‘19), and Ben Baldwin (SFS ’19) won.
Eight candidates ran for the four available at-large seats. Richie Mullaney (COL ‘18), Juan Martinez (SFS ’20), Scott Lowder (COL ’17), and Cherie Vu (COL ‘19) won.
Off-campus, only two registered candidates, Jennifer LeBeau (MSB ’17) and Marisa Hawley (SFS ’17) ran for the four available seats. According to Willard, this was the only district in which the number of registered candidates did not equal or exceed the number of available seats. LeBeau and Hawley won the race along with write-in candidates Michael Hosbein (COL ‘17) and Chicken Madness who was replaced by Serrano.
In a written email comment to the Voice, GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ‘17) said, “I am very excited to start working with these newly elected senators. The Senate used to be my home before I moved to the executive, so I’m excited to work closely with Richie, Cherie, Owen and everyone else again.”