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SA holds runoff vote

By Joey Capparella     3/7/13 6:00pm


After no candidate received a majority of the votes in the race for Student Association Secretary, the SA held a runoff election from Feb. 21-22, won by Nathan Andrus. 

According to SA Director of Elections Monica Zatarain, the runoff was necessary because of election rules in the SA constitution. 

"After the general elections, the Executive Committee talked about the constitution and determined that in order to follow the constitution, we couldn't just declare a winner based on the highest number of votes because there needed to be a majority," Zatarain said. 

The SA bylaws state: "In an election for a single office, the candidate receiving a majority of the votes cast shall be declared winner. If no one person receives a majority, a winner shall be decided by preferential votes." 

In the general elections, Andrew Ta won 38.8 percent of the vote to Nathan Andrus' 32.7 and Muhammad Harirah's 19.2, Zatarain said. Andrus won the runoff race 187 votes to 181 for Ta, as determined by the preferential voting system. 

Zatarain said the runoff race used a new voting system developed by students at Brown College. 

"We had been approached previously by the Brown elections committee, but it was only a few days before the general elections happened, so we decided that it was too close a time frame to use the new system," Zatarain said. "When [the runoff] happened, they had the [preferential voting] technology already, and we decided to use it." 

Zatarain said turnout was lower for this runoff election in comparison for the general election. According to the results, 368 students voted in the runoff election compared with 1,188 students in the general election. 

"Honestly, it's just one position versus a lot of positions," Zatarain said. "People vote for the position that they want to vote for or the candidate they want to vote for. In the general elections, people log in for that, and they are forced to vote for everything else. With [the runoff], it was people who were invested in voting for this one position." 

Lovett College senior Nivriti Chowdhry said she did not vote in the runoff but that she noticed less publicity for this runoff compared to the general election. Chowdhry said she received no publicity about the runoff from the SA and only noticed promotion by the candidates themselves. 

"Everyone who was running marketed the general election, but only the people running for secretary marketed the runoff," Chowdhry said. 

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