USG second election leads to four position changes
The unofficial results show three representative senator seats and one seat on the Student Media Council changed following Baruch College’s reelection for Undergraduate Student Government involving 21 positions. 414 students voted in the second election — held May 13-15 — representing a 66 percent drop in voters from the 1,222 who had voted in the initial election.
POP!'s Noah Epstein, Taji Sanders and Yam-Yu Li were elected to representative senator positions, earning 210, 208 and 216 votes, respectively, while Imagine Baruch's Rachel Wahba earned 129 votes to win a seat on the Student Media Council.
Imagine’s Jerry Li, Grace Lopez and Emmanuel Oladejo had initially won the representative senator seats, earning 480, 500 and 503 votes, respectively, while POP!’s Mona Jiang was initially voted into the Student Media Council seat, despite her dropping out of the race before the election happened. Rep. Sen. Andres Aguirre is the only Imagine member to retain a position following the reelection.
The reelection was deemed necessary after it was discovered that nine ineligible voters, consisting of faculty members and graduate students, participated in the initial April 16-18 election. The Office of Student Life determined that positions determined by an eight-vote margin in the initial election were deemed eligible for reelection due to the blunder, which OSL and the polling company, Honest Ballot, blame on each other.
“We bring in a third party with the expectation that a third party is not biased and that they would make sure that the guidelines that are set are being followed. This is a situation where, based on the data, that might not have been the full case,” said Associate Director of Student Life Operations and Student Election Review Committee Chair Savanna Ramsey. “I do think that it's tough for the students who ran already and that received their unofficial results. I think it's kind of tough to hear that, but I do believe that we're doing the right thing.”
“We did exactly what we were supposed to do,” said Paula Waskover, an election manager with Honest Ballot. Waskover added that Baruch supplied a “student registry,” which the voting system references when any EMPLID is scanned.
Honest Ballot was paid $6,650 to conduct the initial election from USG’s $9,000 “elections” budget line. The second election, which was conducted by Election America, reportedly costs $12,000 to conduct, according to Ramsey. USG was required to move funds in the budget to accommodate the $5,350 difference.
Candidates were not allowed to campaign for the second election, which may have played a role in the result difference.
“The campaigning isn't something that is essentially necessary because, and I hate to say this, but the students campaigned beforehand,” Ramsey said regarding the candidates’ inability to campaign. This is largely due to the CUNY decision that elections had be completed by April 30.
“If they're not, then we have to petition to CUNY central to get an extension,” added Ramsey. “And so I worked with general counsel there, told them the situation and then we had to ask for an extension. With the extension, it was literally just to have the reelection.”
Official results for the second election will be released on May 16.