Red party sweeps election

Spinnaker

The Fall Student Government Elections ended with Red Party Senators taking all 20 of the available seats.

Just over 2,500 students voted in the election, which was held Oct. 20 – 21.

One violation was filed, but it was filed by an administrator, not one of the parties. It will not affect the outcome of the election, said SG Elections and Appointments Chair Courtney Warner.

“We want to treat SG as an investment, as a way to give back to students,” said re-elected Sen. Carlo Fassi.

While campaigning, the Red Party made an effort to explain the Senate’s role in allocating student fees, Fassi said. The grass-roots approach and the party’s visibility on campus attributed to the party’s victory, he said.

“I heard from a lot of people that the Red Party was a lot more visible,” said Red Sen. and sports Curtis Pugh, a sports management senior, who was elected in the spring and did not run in the fall elections.

Members of United Ospreys believe their ticket was too small to be completely competitive.

“We didn’t have the bodies to make it happen,” said United Ospreys candidate Ashlee Gerzina.

More candidates means more money.

Parties are allowed to spend $500 per candidate on election campaigning, and individuals can spend as much as they want on their own personal campaign, Warner said.

United Ospreys candidate Kyle Nelson, who has previously held seats as a Red senator, said the Red Party had an advantage because it had more candidates and could spend more on campaigning.

“We got outworked, we got outspent and they had a larger ticket. It’s about who campaigned the hardest,” Nelson said.

The Red Party spent about $6,200, and the United Ospreys spent about $2,250 on campaigning, said Fassi and Nelson, respectively. Warner said she doesn’t have the official numbers tabulated, yet.

Most of the senators elected are freshmen or sophomores, and two of the senators-elect were recommended to Fassi by SG president Sitou Byll-Cataria after they approached him to run Yellow, Fassi said.

The United Ospreys fielded mostly upperclassmen and Nelson said he is skeptical of how underclassmen will perform in Student Government.

Nelson also claimed that the ballots are unfair.

The ballots need to be randomized, Nelson said. Currently, candidates are listed in alphabetical order, and students often vote for names higher on the list, he said.

According to election results, the top three winners last names started with A, B and C, in that order. They were the only candidates with last names that began with those letters. However the fifth-place winner’s last name begins with a W and half of Osprey United’s senators’ last names began with letters in the first half of the alphabet.

Nelson also said online voting would make elections more democratic.

“I think you’d see voting triple if it was online,” Nelson said.

From a logistics point, online voting is not feasible right now because the school would not be able to prevent people from voting multiple times, Warner said.

Once the senators-elect are sworn in Nov. 8, the Red Party will have a substantial majority in the Senate. Such a majority will characterize a shift toward historical trends. The Red Party has been highly represented in SG since its inception seven years ago.

Nonetheless, Red senators believe the majority will make decisions even-handedly.

“[Two years ago] Senate as a whole voted by party line and it wasn’t pretty,” said Senator-elect and current Senate Pro-Tem John Jordan IV. “The Senate now has grown so much. We get elected by party, but vote as individuals. We have Red senators arguing with each other, and the same with Yellow senators.”

Warner, who was elected as a United Osprey in the spring 2010 elections said she has also seen a dissolution of party-line voting.

“Even though we have a senate that’s mostly Red, we have a president and a vice president who don’t see color, and that’s gonna be the deciding factor,” Pugh said.

Nelson said he is happy the senate isn’t completely homogeneous, but he believes the incoming senate has a lot of work to do.

Fassi and Jordan declined to comment on who might run for president on the Red Party’s ticket in the spring. Similarly, Nelson would not name names, but said that the United Ospreys aren’t going away and that people have already expressed interest in running.

Nelson declined comment on his future in SG, but Gerzina said she is open to running for appointment or possibly in the spring elections.

The fall 2010 elections almost broke the voter turnout record, Warner said.

Jordan came in 10th place in the election and received about the same number of votes that top candidates did two years ago, he said.

The Senate will validate the elections Nov. 1 and the new senators will be sworn in Nov. 8. Both events will take place in the Senate chambers at 6:30 p.m. A full list of the unofficial election results available online at unfspinnaker.com.