Perennial satirical candidate Wisemiller’s Chicken Madness sandwich won one of the uncontested off-campus seats by write-in vote in Thursday’s Georgetown University Student Association senate election.
This is Chicken Madness’ first reported victory in a GUSA election, although Election Commissioner Grady Willard (SFS ’17) said the Election Commission will recommend that GUSA defer to the candidate with the second-most votes. Last year’s executive election saw the Chicken Madness and Hot Chick ticket come second, with 878 votes in the final round of voting.
Election commissioners reported preliminary results early this morning on Twitter. Saad Bashir (COL ’19), Zainab Feroze (SFS ’18), Alexander Bobroske (SFS ’17) and Habon Ali (SFS ’18), the only candidates competing for east campus, were elected.
Chris Grocki (SFS ’17) and Henry Callander (COL ’18) won south campus, defeating a single competitor. Of the five candidates who ran to represent north campus, Jack Pelose (COL ’19), Owen Hayes (COL ’18) and William Morris (COL ’19) were elected. Jennifer LeBeau (MSB ’17), Marisa Hawley (SFS ’17) and Michael Hosbein (NHS ’17), a write-in candidate, will accompany Chicken Madness for the off-campus win.
Zach Oschin (SFS ’20), Javon Price (SFS ’20) and Charle Haijar (MSB ’20) will represent freshman south.
The full election results for central campus, West Campus and Freshman North could not be released as of press time due to discrepancies with candidate campaign receipts, which indicate candidates’ campaign expenses, not being turned in on time, according to the election commission. At-large results were postponed due to a significant quantity of write-in votes, which the Election Commission must hand count.
Off-campus housing showed the lowest voter turnout at 9 percent, according to Willard. There were two candidates for four seats in the district.
“Seniors don’t usually have high voting, and there were only two candidates [in the off-campus district],” Willard said. “It was the only district where there wasn’t the maximum number of candidates.”
Turnout was highest among freshmen, with 46 percent total turnout, 49 percent in Freshmen North — consisting of Darnall Hall and Harbin Hall — and 44 percent in freshman south — consisting of New South and Village C West.
Elections will be confirmed at the first meeting of the new senate on Sunday at 5 p.m. in Healy 106.
Willard said it is hard to compare this year’s turnout to last year’s given residential redistricting that took place last semester. Southwest Quad and Village C remain independent districts, although they were rebranded “west campus” and “south campus” with 26 and 21 percent turnout rates, respectively.
The Former Jesuit Residence, Copley and Village C East comprised central campus with a turnout of 24 percent. Henle Village and Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Hall constituted north campus with a 22 percent turnout, and all other university housing outside the front gates, including LXR, Alumni Square, Nevils and townhouses, composed east campus with turnout of 17 percent.
This year’s race was more contentious than in recent years, with 56 students —three quarters of which were male — competing for 29 available seats in eight residence-based districts, compared to 46 candidates who ran last year.
Only one of eight residence-based districts, off-campus, showed fewer names on the ballot than available positions. In contrast, the at-large district saw eight contenders for its four seats, with many veteran GUSA senators campaigning for re-election outside of their former district.
Each ballot contained three write-in spaces after the spring 2016 petition by Reed Howard (SFS ’17) and Courtney Maduike (SFS ’17) for there to be more freedom for students to vote for last-minute candidates.
Willard said write-in votes make the vote tallying process more laborious.
“The problem is, the system does not take any kind of marker besides a name,” Willard said. “People have all these different symbols — quotation marks, parentheses, exclamation points, and so, I’ve removed some of them, but I have to go line by line until the system tells me that I’ve tried everything, so I’m going line by line through 1,600 votes. It takes a while.”
Incumbent Senate Speaker Richie Mullaney (COL ’18), who served the Henle district last year, campaigned for an at-large position this election.
“Campaigning at large can often present a more difficult challenge than campaigning in a single district,” Mullaney said. “I’m not used to campaigning all over campus, and you really have to make sure you’re known by all classes and people you don’t normally interact with on a daily basis. But I think it’s a fun challenge because people get to learn about you and your ideas, and that’s what I’ve tried to do in the last week.”
Freshmen represented the greatest showing of candidate participation, with 11 competing for the three freshman south seats reserved for New South and Village C West and 14 for the three freshman north seats for Darnall and Harbin.
Meghan Bodette (SFS ’20), who ran for a seat in the freshman south district, said that while the race is competitive, she believes it is ultimately good that candidates are forced to talk about issues facing students.
“It means a really diverse array of ideas are involved in this senate race, and it means a lot of issues are covered,” Bodette said. “I love the range of issues that were brought up, especially issues related to diversity and inclusion, and better access to really all kinds of programs at Georgetown for more people. And I think that, whoever wins, the freshman class really couldn’t ask for better representation.”
Harrison Nugent (SFS ’20) ran for a seat in the freshman north district. He explained the challenges of vying for an elected position with his new classmates.
“For me, at least, I thought the biggest challenge is not only were there 14 candidates, but there were three candidates on my floor in Darnall — Darnall floor one. So, having a really split vote on my floor made it pretty difficult,” Nugent said.
Elkins and Mullaney noted the importance that at-large candidates campaign for the freshman vote.
“Unlike most of my classmates, I need to win the votes of the freshmen, and the new students here at Georgetown,” Elkins said. “I made sure I put flyers in freshmen dorms. I hit all of those earlier this week, and as far as I know, I was the only at-large candidate to do so. So I’m hoping that can win me some votes.”
“Freshmen campaign, and freshmen vote, and freshmen are engaged in the political process here at Georgetown,” Mullaney said. “Introducing yourself to freshmen as an at-large candidate is pivotal if you want to be successful.”
GUSA President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said she is optimistic about the executive branch’s ability to work in tandem with the senate.
“This is a unique year in the sense that we hope to have a really strong, really working relationship with the senate,” Khan said. “ We were really able to do that last semester. And largely because of my background in the senate, I, just in general, have a lot of respect for the senate. And I hope that the execs and senate continue to work closely together through most of the year.”
Correction: This article previously stated Harrison Nugent (SFS ’20) ran for a seat in the freshman south district; he ran for a seat in the freshman north district. This article also stated there was a 19 percent increase in turnout; the final statistic has not yet been released.
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