By Gina Vaile/Managing editor
Learning from last year’s election chaos, President Mary Hall and Chief-of-Staff Matt Shumacher told students running for elections not to bother showing up until 7:30 p.m. to hear poll results. At 7:30 p.m., the candidates were told the results were not ready — to come back later.
The hold-up was the write-in candidates that seven volunteers had to sort through, type out onto election papers and verify as students before submitting the results to the anxious candidates.
At 9:25 p.m. the results were ready to be revealed.
“Even though the voting was done by computer, the write-ins still have to be tallied by hand and then typed in. Our election results are seven pages long,” Hall said before she announced next year’s officers, senators and representatives.
It took Hall roughly 10 minutes to announce those who had been elected and for Elections Chair Graham Trimble to flip a coin for two hall representative positions in the Residence Life Council.
The candidates running for representative in Telford and Walters halls were decided by the coin toss after receiving the same amount of votes.
Five other positions, one in the RLC and four in the Student Activities Council, will require a runoff that will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Tuesday in the Powell Building.
The candidates running for the positions also have the same amount of votes, thus requiring the runoff election. Hall said student workers will verify all voter information before the ballot may be cast.
O’Brien and Melching come out on top
The day began at 7 a.m. for Kristina O’Brien and Lance Melching and campaign volunteers.
Blowing up balloons to distribute on campus, the O’Brien/Melching campaign hit the campus sidewalks with a mission — to win.
“Jackie (Leach) and Tracy (Gragston) were out campaigning very hard today,” O’Brien said Tuesday, noting that she was worried about the competition.
“I’m stunned; I’m just stunned,” she said outside the Powell Building after the elections.
“I’ve been here since 5:30 nervously anticipating the outcome, and I’m just glad to have so much support,” she said.
Her runningmate, Lance Melching, wasn’t present for announcements because of a prior commitment involving the search for the university’s next provost.
In an e-mail, Melching said he felt honored the student body elected him.
“In the fall I hope to get a school spirit campaign kicked off with the football season. I will be working with other vice presidents to make that a reality,” he said.
“I’m energized by what appears to be an exciting year for SGA. I think that students will see many positive initiatives in the coming year,” he said.
While O’Brien isn’t sure when the last non-traditional president held office at Eastern, she said she is confident that she is the first with children and the first physics major to become SGA president/student Regent.
The two thanked the volunteers who helped with their campaign.
“Especially Bee Martin, who was our campaign manager,” O’Brien said.
While the new president and vice president have several issues ready to bring forth to the SGA next fall — including student rights issues, budget cuts, tuition concerns, co-curricular transcripts, plus/minus grading and student fees — O’Brien said the first item on the agenda is the clean-up of all campaign material.
“It took us two weeks to set everything up and we have to get rid of everything in two days,” O’Brien laughed.
Huffman elected as vice president for RLC
Chris Huffman said he was honored students elected him though he ran unopposed.
“It feels great, especially since I received so many votes. It’s good to know the students are supportive of me,” he said.
His future plans include filling offices and establishing a master plan for the fall. He hopes to work advocating cleanliness in the halls and working out technical problems.
“We need to try to impress the freshmen,” he said.
Jones elected as vice president for SAC
Amber Jones could not be reached for comment.
President and Executive Vice President:
Kristina O’Brien and Lance Melching (698 votes) defeated
Jacquelyn Leach and Tracy Gragston (364 votes)
Vice President for Student Activities:
Amber Jones (441 votes) defeated Christina Thompson (332 votes) and Nicholas Shelton (242 votes)
Vice President for Residence Life:
Chris Huffman (591 votes)
The winners are …
The election results from Tuesday are as follows:
Sammye Jo Monroe
Runoff for second seat
Amy Jo Smith