Posted 2:50 a.m. March 6- Students will choose between Student Association presidential candidates Josh Singer and Phil Robinson in a run-off election Wednesday and Thursday.
Singer contested the run-off in Student Court Tuesday night, but a unanimous ruling allowed the election to continue.
The Court decided 4-0 that a vote for Singer cast by graduate student P. Francisco Semiao will not be counted, leaving neither candidate with the 40 percent of votes necessary to win the election. The Court, with Chief Justice Jeff Marootian presiding, issued a summary judgement, throwing out the case, at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The Joint Elections Committee announced Singer won the election Friday, with 867 of 2,167 votes cast putting him over the 40 percent mark by one vote.
The JEC discovered Sunday a double-counted absentee ballot for Singer from a student studying abroad, sending the election to a run-off.
Singer’s campaign questioned Semiao’s absentee ballot in Student Court Tuesday.
Semiao, president of the Public Health Student Association, said he was away in Atlanta for an annual chronic disease conference during the election. A friend in the Singer campaign informed him he could vote in the election via e-mail, said senior Scott Sheffler, who served as JEC chair until Monday.
Senior Rosalyn Metz assumed the duties of JEC chair after Sheffler stepped down, citing mid-term pressures.
The JEC received the e-mailed vote at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, an hour and a half after the 5 p.m. EST deadline for absentee votes.
Singer argued the deadline was not made public to non-study abroad students, according to court documents.
The JEC claimed Semiao does not fit into guidelines for absentee voters.
The JEC created guidelines prior to the election to allow students abroad or on a leave of absence from the university to vote.
Semiao did not fall under either of the guidelines, according to the JEC.
The committee said in the past, students who would be away from school on election day could register their departure and wish to vote with the administration, Metz said.
Metz said there was no such provision made this year.
“Each year’s JEC determines absentee ballot rules,” Metz said.
Singer declined to comment following the decision.
“We believe that an innocent elector was disenfranchised,” said senior Dan Ericson, legal counsel for Singer’s campaign. “All we want to do is prove our case.”
Robinson agreed with the court’s decision.
Metz said she hopes for a smooth election.
Robinson, a business student and current SA senator, is campaigning to improve student life and bring the SA closer to students.
Singer, who is double majoring in criminal justice and psychology and serves as current SA executive vice president, has focused on academics, promising to make and effort to put GW back in the top 50 colleges ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
The same six polling stations- the Marvin Center computer lab, the Law School, Somers Hall at Mount Vernon and Funger, Monroe and Ross halls will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
This article appeared in the March 4, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.