Singer loses vote and election win

About 1,500 students came out Wednesday to vote in the hotly contested run-off Student Association presidential election between Josh Singer and Phillip Robinson, Joint Election Committee officials said. That is a jump of 25 percent from the first day of last week’s regular election.

On Monday, the JEC declared a run-off election three days after Josh Singer was announced the winner of this year’s presidential race. The deciding factor: a double-counted study abroad ballot cast for Singer.

The run-off election, which started Wednesday and ends Thursday between Singer and Robinson, comes after a Tuesday Student Court hearing on another controversial Singer vote sent over e-mail.

The JEC plans to announce the final results Thursday night.

The JEC announced Singer won the election last Friday, with 867 of 2,167 votes, which put him over the necessary 40 percent mark by one vote.

Former JEC Chairman Scott Sheffler, who stepped down Monday because of mid-term pressures, said one study abroad student sent e-mails to both the JEC offices and the Office of Study Abroad.

The vote was disregarded, and Singer’s total fell just under the amount required for a victory. The JEC declared a run-off Monday morning.

Singer then contested in Student Court Tuesday night that a vote cast by graduate student P. Francisco Semiao should have counted.

The Court issued a summary judgement, throwing out the case, at 1:45 a.m. Wednesday morning.

If the Student Court authorized the vote, Singer would have once again receive a 40 percent majority, making the run-off unnecessary.

Semiao, president of the Public Health Student Association, said he was away in Atlanta for a chronic disease conference during the election. A friend in the Singer campaign informed him he could vote in the election via e-mail, Sheffler said.

The JEC received the e-mailed vote at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, an hour and a half after the 5 p.m. 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 the guidelines for an absentee voter.

Senior Rosalyn Metz, who assumed the duties of JEC chair after Sheffler stepped down, said in the past students who were away from school could register their departure and plan to vote. But there was no such provision made this year.

Singer declined to comment following the decision.

“We believe that an innocent elector was disenfranchised,” said senior Dan Ericson, Singer’s legal counsel. “All we want to do is prove our case.”

Candidates’ supporters gathered outside the Marvin Center Wednesday for one last push.

“I’m really nervous for Josh,” said newly elected EVP Eric Daleo. “But I think because Josh won the election already he can do it again.

Robinson said he was confident.

“I think the totals are good, but it’s going to come down to the wire again,” he said.

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