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PAUL closes in Western Market
By Ella Mitchell, Staff Writer • April 22, 2024

BREAKING NEWS: JEC finds extra ballot box, election results could change

Posted: Friday, Feb. 27, 3 p.m. –The Joint Election Committee is adding about 66 ballots to the total vote count, after members found an unopened ballot box from the Mount Vernon Campus following result announcements Friday morning.

The JEC is set to announce final tallies at 4 p.m. Friday in the Marvin Center.

Juniors Omar Woodard and Lee Roupas were set to compete in a run-off next week to determine who would be the next Student Association president. Executive vice presidential candidates Anyah Dembling and Ed Buckley were also slated to compete in the run-off Wednesday and Thursday.

Woodard received 1,106 votes, Roupas received 687 and Isaiah Pickens received 675 votes, including the extra Mount Vernon ballots, according to a copy of election results obtained by The Hatchet Friday. Roupas and Pickens each got five Mount Vernon votes, while Woodard received eight.

Student Judicial Services and the Registrar’s Office must verify results before they are official.

A presidential or executive vice presidential candidate needs 40 percent of votes to win, which no candidates received.

JEC Chair John Plack said group members found the unopened box of ballots under a stack of papers and other materials in the JEC office. He said he called University Police, who moved all ballots into a Marvin Center conference room.

“(We have) a bit of a situation on our hands, but nothing that hasn’t happened in the past … it’s a pretty crappy situation,” Plack said.

The JEC called an “emergency meeting” at 1:30 p.m. Friday for all successful and unsuccessful candidates to hear about the box. He also encouraged students to ask for a recount if they wanted. Candidates have 48 hours from 4 p.m. Friday to ask for a recount.

“We want to make people know we’re not hiding (anything),” Plack said. “This (situation) is awful enough as it is.”

Pickens, who came in a close third place, said before the meeting that finding the Mount Vernon box was “nerve-wracking for everyone, (and there were) emotional ups and downs (we’re) not used to.”

He also said his campaign team made a large effort on Mount Vernon, and he will continue to work for the students even if not elected.

“I’m not going to let my ideas just die because I lose a race,” he said.

Presidential candidates Glenn Dym received 146 total votes, Justin Luther 83, Joe Venti 60 and Dan LeClair 61, according to the election results document.

Dembling received five extra Mount Vernon votes, Buckley four and EVP candidate Asher Corson received one. Several other senators, Marvin Center Governing Board members and Program Board chairs also received more votes after the box was opened.

Several candidates said they were unimpressed with the election process because of several mishaps that occurred this week. Several paper ballots were marked with misinformation Wednesday, and more paper ballots than expected needed to be used because of computer problems.

Jordyn Cosme, newly elected undergraduate senator at-large, said the election was “very poorly put together.”

“My name didn’t appear on the ballot for an hour (after the polling started Wednesday),” said Cosme, referring to the undergraduate-at-large ballots that were missing Wednesday.

Plack said he wants to see students only use computer voting in the future. He said he would like students to be able to vote in their rooms electronically.

Tim Miller, associate director of the Student Activities Center, said officials were looking into adding more computer sites next year. This year, students could vote on computers in Thurston Hall, the Marvin Center and Monroe Hall.

But some senators said they would not want students to be able to vote in their rooms because candidates could try to persuade voters in residence halls.

“Candidates could be in your room pressuring you to vote,” said Dembling (U-ESIA), who will compete in the run-off for executive vice president.

Stay tuned to for more information throughout the day.

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