Court names observers for SA election recount

The student court appointed three students Wednesday to act as independent observers for the recount of the Student Association presidential election ballots.

Joint Elections Committee members said they planned to start the recount Wednesday night, with Cooper Deerwester, Andrew Sisk and former SA President Damian McKenna in attendance. The JEC had not determined the procedures for the count by Wednesday evening.

“We will be meeting with the special observers to determine procedures for the recount,” JEC Vice Chair Joe Bondi said.

Sunday, the court approved the use of independent observers to recount the SA presidential ballots. SA Presidential candidate Alexis Rice asked for another count of the ballots Sunday after the first recount, requested by candidate Phil Meisner, yielded different results than the JEC’s preliminary results. Rice, who had originally been declared the winner, did not receive the necessary 40 percent in the first recount to avoid a runoff.

According to the JEC’s recount, Rice fell one vote short of the 40-percent threshold to win, and the JEC declared that Rice and Meisner will compete in a runoff. In addition, the court delayed Sunday the runoff elections for SA president and executive vice president, scheduling them for March 24 and 25.

The court also is allowing one representative from each SA presidential campaign to observe the recount. Chief Judge Matthew Leddicotte said the court is “showing an outreach to the candidates” by allowing an observer from each presidential candidate’s campaign.

“These campaign observers shall be present in the room during the recount, but shall in no other way participate in the recount,” according to the court’s charge to the observers.

“These observers will be sitting there silently,” JEC spokesperson Kristen-Marie Kaczynski said. “This opens up the process of the JEC a little more.”

According to the court’s charge, the JEC will “conduct as many recounts” as it takes to “produce two identical results” for the SA president’s race. The two results must be counted in the presence of the independent observers.

The court’s charge requires the appointed independent observers to report to the court with the results of the president’s race by 10 p.m. March 23.

Bondi said the JEC also will recount the SA executive vice presidential race because of two requests. He said the JEC would start counting them Wednesday night “if time permits.” The observers do not have to be present for the EVP count, Leddicotte said.

Rice said the court’s structuring of the recount is the fairest way to resolve the discrepancy in other counts.

“We believe that this is the fairest and most unbiased way to get this situation ended,” Rice said. “I feel it is important to the student body to find out what are the final results of the election.”

Rice said she is disappointed with the JEC’s changes and has already received e-mails congratulating her on winning the election. Rice said she received a congratulatory letter Wednesday from GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg.

JEC members said the appointment of the independent observers will prove to GW students that the counting process is fair.

“I think that (the independent observers) will shed light that the JEC has been independent and fair and impartial all the time,” Kaczynski said.

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