On Wednesday, after three weeks of intense campaigning, Jennifer Abrams and Jefferson Losse were announced as the next Undergraduate Student Body President and Executive Vice President. Current SGA President Dillon Roseen announced the winners at an event at the Student Center Theater.
With a record turnout, this election turned out to be very close, unlike in some previous years. A total of 3,442 votes were cast in the election, up from about 2,900 last year and about 2,700 the year before.
Abrams and Losse won 1,772 of the votes, approximately 51 percent of the total, just barely over the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Missy Pittard and Zain Sharif came in a close second with 1,375 votes after accounting for an election violation. Aaron Solender and Alex Moran finished last with 213 votes.
Pittard and Sharif were found guilty on one count of purposeful filing of a frivolous elections violation against another ticket, resulting in a 6 percent deduction of votes. Additionally, they were found guilty of two counts of inappropriate use of the GT logo, which resulted in a budget deduction of 4 percent. Abrams and Losse were found not guilty of one count of door-to-door campaigning without permission.
“I think we’re excited because, being in SGA cabinet right now … we can make sure that anything that needs to be prepped for next year, can be done in this short amount of time,” Abrams said after the announcement.
“We’ve talked about hitting the ground running, and I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” Losse said.
Abrams and Losse focused their campaign on a four-point platform: safety, wellness, “oneGT” and what they called active transparency. Among other initiatives, they plan on creating a Wellness Task Force and Campus Safety Committee to heighten attention to these areas as well as increase transparency between SGA and the student body.
During the campaign they emphasized their extensive SGA experience, something that the other candidates did not posses.
Also elected Wednesday was the new Graduate Student Body President Marc Canellas and his Executive Vice-President Matthew Miller. Canellas ran for the position unopposed.
“Knowing Jen and Jeff’s experience, I think they won’t have to waste as much time establishing connections or learning how everything works,” said Jennifer Boudreau, an Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) member.
In the end, this election was one of the closest in recent years, and, according to some observers, this can be attributed to the strength of the tickets.
“These elections show how amazingly talented and diverse the student body is and I think all of candidates this year did a great job,” said fourth year Jiby Yohannan.