By Kyle Woosley
After being cleared in an appeals trial, Madelyn Street and Nichole Arbino were declared winners of the Student Government Assocation (SGA) elections and are now slated to become student body president and executive vice president.
Street and Arbino were removed from the ballot Tuesday night after they were accused of violating elections bylaws. The pair had collected 625 votes-a tally that would have given them the win over Megan Gosnell and Kenton Murphy, who with 550 votes were declared the winners, pending Street and Arbino’s appeals trial.
Because the appeals process was still underway, Street and Arbino’s vote tallies were not disclosed to the public. The SGA elections committee declared Gosnell and Murphy the election’s winners, although that outcome still depended on Street and Arbino’s appeal.
According to SGA records, Street was accused of defacing another candidate’s campaign materials-essentially writing in between the candidate’s chalk reminders on the sidewalk near Commonwealth Hall.
“It was just really frustrating because we worked so hard and campaigned so hard and I really felt like we’d done such a great job at campaigning that it was hard to have it just be taken away over chalk,” Arbino said.
After they were removed from the ballot, Street and Arbino decided to appeal the elections committee’s decision.
“Honestly, I was really devastated but I knew there was an appeal process so I wasn’t going to give up,” Street said. “I was going to do everything I could possibly do and get my votes heard.”
Ultimately, Street was vindicated in the appeals trial, which was heard at 8 p.m. Wednesday night, a full day after the election had concluded. According to SGA records, the SGA elections committee opted to reinstate Street on the ballot, saying that removal would have been too “extreme.”
“It was really nerve-wracking, the entire trial, because it just it swung both ways so much,” Arbino said. “One second was really favoring the election committee side and then it would just seem like it was on our side.”
Street and Arbino said they were both relieved and excited to hear the outcome had worked out in the end.
“I sprinted outside and called Madelyn, I called my parents, called every single person that had been on my list of people to tell,” Arbino said. “I was just so excited because I wanted it so bad and I can’t wait to see all of the great opportunities it’s going to lead to.”
The change in election results, however, meant that Gosnell and Murphy were no longer SGA president and executive vice-president elects.
“I have not spoken with them [Gosnell & Murphy],” Street said. “I plan on sitting down and talking to them about everything and what they want to do for SGA next year. I want to keep them full and active members of the administration.”
Gosnell declined to comment when contacted by a Progress reporter.
Murphy, however, said he’s taking it in stride.
“I’m happy for Madelyn and Nichole,” Murphy said.
The change in the election’s results marks the second year in a row in which an appeals trial has had a significant impact on the final tally. Last year, Rachel Mollozzi and
Matthew White were removed from the ballot temporarily as they awaited an appeals trial for allegedly hung a poster closer to a computer lab than election bylaws allowed. They were later found not guilty and were then declared the winners, although not until after another ticket had already been announced as the victors.