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Harris ’14.5, Kwakwa ’14 to compete in UCS run-off

Neither presidential candidate got a majority of the votes, prompting a revote to begin Tuesday

The race for president of the Undergraduate Council of Students will be determined by a run-off between Todd Harris ’14.5 and Afia Kwakwa ’14, the UCS Elections Board announced at 12:01 a.m. Friday on the steps of the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center.

A run-off is employed when no candidate receives greater than 50 percent of votes in a race among more than two candidates, said Caleb Miller ’16, UCS elections board chair and a Herald senior staff writer.

In an instant run-off conducted before the announcement, Harris received 1,179 votes, 48.9 percent of the total. Kwakwa garnered 1,166 votes, 48.4 percent of the total. About 42.5 percent of the student body voted, said current UCS President Anthony White ’13.

Though an instant run-off was used to determine the position of UCS president last year, this is the first time it has failed to produce an immediate winner. The instant run-off mechanism uses a candidate ranking system to reallocate votes that were originally cast for the third candidate to the top two. It has existed since 2011, White said.

The next voting period will open Tuesday at noon and close Thursday at noon, Miller said.

“I’m really surprised,” Harris said. “I’m excited about the closeness. It really goes to show how important it is to vote.”

“I knew it was going to be a close race, so I wasn’t that surprised,” Kwakwa said. “I look forward to continuing (campaigning) because it gives me an opportunity to talk to more students.”

Leila Veerasamy ’15 was elected chair of the Undergraduate Finance Board, beating Alex Sherry ’15 by claiming 65 percent of votes.

Sherry said he would run for vice chair of the board if he lost the race for chair at the candidates’ debate April 11.

“I’d be happy as chair with Leila as vice chair. I’d be happy as vice chair with Leila as chair,” Sherry said at the time.

“Leila will be a very strong chair,” said current UFB Chair Zak Fischer ’13. “Her strength is that she’s very personable.”

No one was elected UFB vice chair, since no candidates ran for the position. The position will be filled through an internal election in the fall.

Sam Gilman ’15, who ran unopposed, was elected UCS vice president.

Maahika Srinivasan ’15, who ran unopposed, was elected chair of the Academic and Administrative Affairs Committee, and Sazzy Gourley ’16 was elected chair of the Admissions and Student Services Committee, defeating Andrea Wistuba Behrens ’16. Malikah Williams ’16 defeated two other candidates to be elected chair of the Campus Life Committee, and Alex Dreschler ’15, a Herald opinions columnist, was elected chair of the Student Activities Committee after running unopposed. Alana Bhatla ’16, who also ran unopposed, was elected treasurer of the Council.


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