Undergrad presidents to run off; Harley wins graduate presidency

For the third straight year the race for the undergraduate student body president position is going to a runoff. On the other hand, election results released Wednesday produced a new undergraduate executive vice president as well as a new graduate student body president and executive vice president.

The undergraduate presidency runoff will pit Alina Staskevicius, undergraduate vice president of Administrative Affairs, against Public Policy Representative Kristy Champlin. Staskevicius collected 1,428 of the 3,397 votes cast (42.0%), while Champlin received 1,016 votes (29.9%). Robert McEntyre, undergraduate vice president of Campus Affairs, finished third with 953 votes (28.1%).

“The race definitely isn’t over,” Staskevicius said. “[The campaign has been] exhausting, but [the runoff] is something we were anticipating this year with three really qualified candidates running.”

The graduate student body presidential race was narrowly won by Linda Harley, graduate executive vice president, who edged out Public Policy Senator Rick McKeon by a tally of 277-274. City Planning Senator Justin Chapman won the graduate executive vice presidential race unopposed.

“I’ve been working really hard this past year learning the ins and outs of student government and getting to know all of the administrators on campus,” Harley said. “It’s an amazing feeling to be able to know that students have confidence in me and I can really stand up for what is right for graduate students.”

In the race for undergraduate executive vice president, Parker Hancock, chair of the Internal Development Committee, came out as the winner with 1,878 votes. His opponent Brian-Paul Gude, sophomore class president, garnered 1,356 votes.

The election ended Wednesday at 4 p.m. An hour and a half later, after the SGA Elections Committee certified the results, the winners were announced in the Student Center Commons by Carlos D’Almeida, SGA elections chair, and Drew Weigl, graduate elections director, who also published these results.

Turnout was up from last year in both races. For those voting for undergraduate positions, 3,662 students voted out of the 12,069 possible undergraduates (30.3%). This figure is up from the 2,606 votes cast last year but down from 4,105 votes in 2007. In the graduate presidential race, 551 votes were cast out of the 5,937 possible graduate students (9.2%). This figure was up just one from last year’s total of 550.

SGA election bylaws require a winning candidate in any student government race to receive a majority of the votes cast. When three or more candidates split the vote so that none receives more than half of the votes, a runoff is held during the following week between the two leading vote-getters.

The runoff between Staskevicius and Champlin will open today at 1 p.m. at www.elections.gatech.edu and will remain open until Wednesday at 4 p.m.