Hart, Sobel set for runoff; Reiling wins PB

And then there were two. Or so students thought.

Junior Steve Sobel is set to face off with sophomore Kris Hart in a runoff for the Student Association presidency Wednesday and Thursday after the two garnered the highest vote counts in a hotly-contested eight-person race. But complaints regarding missing votes and illegal voting may mar what looked to be one of the smoothest elections in recent history.

Election officials announced the results at 5:15 a.m. Friday in the Hippodrome to candidates who had waited out seven nervous hours of vote counting with friends and campaigners.

Hart received 33 percent of the vote while Sobel took close to 19 percent as 2,890 students cast their ballots Wednesday and Thursday. Candidates need 40 percent of the vote in order to win the election outright.

Third-place finisher Adam Greenman said he will file a complaint with the Student Court Monday, alleging there are uncounted Law School votes and Medical School students in town illegally voted absentee via e-mail. Law School students, who mostly voted with paper ballots, accounted for a large portion of Greenman’s votes.

“The election didn’t go the way it should have,” said Greenman, who finished 59 votes behind Sobel. “There were two wrongs committed here.”

Law School Sen. Mark Hershfield said the disparity between more than 550 Student Bar Association election votes and less than half as many votes for SA is questionable, given that tables for the two elections were less than 25 feet apart.

Greenman added that there are conflicting reports regarding the number of pages in the poll book documenting voters. He said the JEC has 20 pages, but some witnesses reported seeing at least 40 during the election.

The second issue concerns a blanket measure approved by the medical school enabling students who would not be on campus during voting to cast absentee ballots via e-mail. Greenman is contending that students who were in town still e-mailed their votes, an elections bylaw violation.

While the majority of medical school votes went to Hart and would not directly affect Greenman, he said he is filing a complaint against both because he believes the process was “shady.”

Another group of executive vice presidential candidates plans to file its own complaint Monday regarding the medical school issue. Former EVP candidate Jeff Schrimmer, who is leading the effort, said he believes the ability of medical students to vote via e-mail in addition to an e-mail sent by the Medical School Student Council endorsing Hart and eventual EVP victor Eric Daleo “put other candidates at a distinct disadvantage.”

Daleo said he believes the process was fair and disagrees with Schrimmer’s assertion that a new election is needed.

“I am very pleased with the way (the JEC) conducted the election,” Daleo said. “I think the students voted already.”

Daleo, the incumbent, won re-election with 51 percent of the vote, although he was part of a six-person field. Even if the Student Court throws out the medical school ballots, which were heavily for Daleo, he would still garner about 45 percent of the vote, more than necessary to win without a runoff.

Daleo received 1,302 votes, with Laura DeLucia finishing a distant second with 331 votes. Third-place candidate Jason Cabrera received 283 votes.

Junior John Reiling took 707 of about 1,600 votes for Program Board chairman to win. Sophomore Eric Wiegand ran unopposed for PB executive vice chair.

The runoff is still scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

“I think I ran a really grassroots campaign and spoke to the issues students care about,” Sobel said.

Hart said the runoff competition is “good for the student body.”

“We’re going to give it our best shot,” he said. “Right now we’re just very mellow because we haven’t won yet.”
-Julie Gordon, Alex Kingsbury, Kate Stepan and Thane Tuttle contributed to this report.

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