JEC chair quits hours before election ends

Joint Elections Committee Chair Kevin Burkett resigned Wednesday, hours before final election results were tabulated and winners announced.

JEC spokesperson Kristen-Marie Kaczynski said Burkett notified the committee via e-mail that he no longer will be serving as chair. She said the JEC held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss the resignation. JEC Vice Chair Jason Miller assumed the position of chair, and Joe Bondi was elected vice chair, Kaczynski said.

Kaczynski said Burkett’s resignation had nothing to do with the JEC or the elections. Student Association President Carrie Potter, who appointed Burkett to his position, said Burkett resigned because of illness.

The JEC oversees elections for the SA, Program Board and Marvin Center Governing Board. Potter said Burkett served on the JEC last year and expressed interest in rejoining the committee. She said Burkett served the JEC well as a member and then as chair.

“I had confidence in him,” Potter said. “I’m glad he put forth that effort.”

Potter said she was at Wednesday’s meeting and discussed with the JEC the consequences of Burkett’s absence.

Kaczynski said Burkett’s resignation was unexpected and surprised JEC members. She said she is disappointed Burkett will not participate in the culmination of this year’s elections.

“This is the most stressful time,” she said. “We were sad that he lost out on (the election’s last days).”

She said the JEC is adjusting to operating with eight members instead of the usual nine. She said the JEC needs all its members to participate in the vote counting.

“We’re proving tonight eight hands are just as good as nine,” Kaczynski said.

Miller said the remaining JEC members are fulfilling the responsibilities required of the committee.

“All eight members have stepped up to the challenge,” Miller said. “We feel strongly that we will remain a presence and follow through.”

Potter said she has not appointed a replacement for Burkett, but will decide if she should name someone if there is a runoff election.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she said.

She said there are “pros and cons” of appointing a new member “at this stage of the game.”

Kaczynski said she does not know if someone will be appointed to fill Burkett’s position, but the JEC will continue to operate with its current composition.

Potter said the JEC “pulled together and acted as a team” throughout the elections. She said students always criticize the JEC’s work and the JEC has worked with “determination.”

Kaczynski said Burkett is an “optimistic person.”

“I feel as though Kevin did the best job he could under the circumstances,” she said.

Burkett was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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