As students lined up by the hundreds outside the BankUnited Center waiting to see Al Gore, a much smaller group sat inside the Rat, anxiously awaiting the results of the Student Government elections.
The candidates and supporters trickled in as the Elections Commission prepared to make the announcement: “One Goal. One Passion. The U” took all three seats.
Claudia Medina, head of the Elections Commission, thanked the Commission and announced the raffle winners, none of whom were in attendance. She then proceeded to read the winners for the SG Senate seats, followed by the winners for treasurer, vice president and president.
The winning candidates for president, vice president and treasurer were Danny Carvajal, Molly Jones and Justin Gaither, respectively.
“After hearing Justin’s name, I wasn’t confident yet,” Carvajal said. “After hearing Molly’s name, I was feeling a little bit better but still not sure. It all came so fast; it was such a great feeling.”
Turnout increased roughly 47 percent this year, bringing the undergraduate turnout to roughly 19 percent. In total, 1,917 voters cast ballots Monday through Wednesday for president, a 636-vote increase from the 1,301 votes cast in last year’s executive election.
Medina feels that added polling locations, specifically at each residence hall and the Wellness Center, helped increase turnout by making voting more accessible to students.
“In the future, I’d like to see everybody turn out to vote, because I think it is important that people elect who represents them,” she said.
The SG referendum to increase the student activity fee by one dollar passed with 58 percent in agreement.
In figures released by Medina to The Miami Hurricane, Carvajal won by a majority, earning 556 more votes than his closest competitor, Johweyeh Lowenthal; Jones received 560 more votes than her closest competitor, Dan Kalvig; and Gaither received 847 more votes than his closest competitor, Xochitl Valle.
As the winners were announced, all members of the “One Goal. One Passion. The U” team jumped up and cheered, sharing hugs and placing phone calls to friends.
Carvajal said that his team is both very honored and very humbled by the results.
“I congratulate all the candidates,” Medina said amidst the cheering. “I think they all did a really great job.”
Jones, the vice president-elect, repeatedly said, “I can’t believe this is real.”
Most team members of the “Unity For A Better Community” ticket were absent from the results announcement. Lowenthal was in attendance and commented on the election results.
“Honestly, it was disappointing,” he said. “I learned that you need to reflect the values of your constituents and have a strong infrastructure, and I didn’t do a good enough job with either of [those].”
Carvajal and Lowenthal shook hands following the announcement, with Lowenthal telling Carvajal to “do a great job.”
Lowenthal also offered his congratulations to the Elections Commission, acknowledging the fact that they were just shy of 2,000 voters.
Few members of the “Do It For You” team were in the audience.
A watery-eyed/emotional Katy Sears, presidential candidate for the ticket, declined to comment.
The new executive administration will be inaugurated during the first week of April.
“Right now, our first order of business is to celebrate,” Carvajal said. “Then we are looking forward to the transition between the current executive administration and our new administration. We’ll start up our own ideas and keep working on the ones that they started.”
Megan Ondrizek may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.