After a long week of campaigning, freshman election results for Student Government Association (SGA) and College Council were announced last night.
With campaigns promising more reliable wireless Internet, shorter lines at the DUC and increased campus involvement, this year’s candidates are among the most enthusiastic Emory has seen, said College Council President Elizabeth Farrar.
“I think it’s great that this year’s class seems especially eager to become involved in student government,” Farrar said. “As a whole, the platforms were better informed and more in line with our priorities for the year than have been in the past.”
Not only was candidate turnout larger than it has been in past years, but voter turnout reached a record 37 percent this year compared with the typical 20 percent seen in past elections.
Walt Ecton, elections board chair, credited this voter turnout to the effective campaigning done by the candidates and to the newly publicized voting policy.
When logging on to vote in freshman elections, those freshmen who entered Emory with enough AP and IB credits to be considered sophomores by the College have historically been presented with the incorrect ballot on LearnLink. Therefore, in order to vote, these students must e-mail their selections.
This year, the elections board publicized this issue before the election, which produced more e-mail ballots than ever before, Ecton said.
The increased participation on both sides of the election did not just set numerical records. This year, there were run-offs for both SGA and College Council, news that had the candidates groaning.
“It is unusual to have runoffs during freshman elections, but I’ve seen so much campaigning this year that I’m not surprised,” Farrar said.
Stephen Ratner, who will participate in a runoff for SGA, emphasized the importance of each vote.
“It’s a little less nerve-wracking this time because it gives me confidence that so many people voted, but also a little more nerve-wracking because I have to go through this all over again,” he said. “A lot of people I talked to said their one vote wouldn’t count for anything. Now that I can show them that every single vote counts, I hope they’ll vote this time.”
Gloria Hong, an international student from China, will participate in the run-off elections for College Council.
“I’m kind of disappointed because we have to campaign again,” she said. “On the other side, it’s exciting as an international student because I think it’s harder for us to get a position in College Council or SGA, so this is kind of encouragement.”
While those caught in a runoff planned their next move, the students elected to their new SGA and College Council positions celebrated their victories.
Sitting on the shoulders of his surrounding friends, Adam McCall, who won the most votes for SGA, reflected on the outcomes of his campaigning efforts.
“It feels great to be elected,” he said. “I knocked on every door of every hall, so it’s an honor.”
Eli Recht, with the most votes for College Council, agreed with McCall.
“It’s so gratifying that so many people have faith in me,” he said.
In Recht’s opinion, his approach to the campaign that made him stand out against the other candidates.
“I didn’t have a formal platform,” he said. “I just want to give my class a good year, and I showed that in my campaign. I was an approachable candidate; I was casual, versus the ‘Hi, I’m a politician’ way of introducing myself.”
McCall said that he took the time to research the needs of his class and created a platform that he felt best addressed the issues of Emory’s freshmen. He said his platform included such issues as streamlining online communication between LearnLink, BlackBoard and OPUS, lessening the construction near freshman residence halls, increasing freshman involvement on campus and improving the food at the DUC.
There may have been a larger number of students than usual running for SGA and College Council, but that didn’t stop students from finding more candidates to add to the race. Write-in votes went to Dooley, Bugs Bunny, Sponge Bob, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinksy.
— Contact Alice Chen