A record number of students voted in a new UGBC administration Wednesday, culminating a momentous campaign between the two teams.
The Elections Committee (EC) announced Wednesday night that the team of Nanci Fiore-Chettiar and Chris Marchese, originally the only team that filed for candidacy and both A&S ’15, will serve as the UGBC president and executive vice president for the 2014-15 school year.
According to unofficial numbers released by the EC, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese garnered 2,327 votes-54 percent of the record 4,332 undergraduates who voted. Lucas Levine and Vance Vergara, both A&S ’15, received 2,005 votes. Both numbers represent the totals before sanctions were applied for both teams. The Student Programs Office (SPO) is expected today to release the official numbers.
Before the results were announced, the EC announced that the Levine-Vergara team had been docked 50 votes for campaigning in a residence hall when they were not permitted to do so. Monday, Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese were sanctioned 75 votes for an unspecified campaign smear directed at Levine and Vergara.
Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese, who were originally running uncontested, as they were the only candidate team to file before the original Jan. 16 deadline, won every class year.
According to the EC’s unofficial numbers, the freshman class turned out the most voters (1,335), followed by the junior class (1,192), and the sophomore class (1,177). Only 628 seniors voted in the election.
Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese fared best in their own class year-the only class in which they won by more than 100 votes. The freshman class was the closest-only 16 votes separated the teams.
Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese, who will be sworn-in sometime in late April, pitched their platform to voters under the slogan “Together We Will.”
“I think that our involvement really helped,” said Fiore-Chettiar of their victory. “We’ve met so many people over our three years.”
“Lucas and Vance had a very appealing message,” Marchese said. “By far they did a great job being in the Quad, being in the Rat, being all over campus, [and] being really visible. I think that’s why it was a very close election. But I think what set us apart was when we did sit down to talk to people we were able to sell our vision very well.”
“We’re proud of everything our team worked for,” said Mike Keefe, Levine and Vergara’s campaign manager, in a statement. “We’re proud of the positive campaign we ran. We are so proud and thankful for the people on our team. We look forward to working on the issues next year that remain important to us, such as mental health, and advocating for tangible student needs, and we wish Nanci and Chris all the best in their administration.”
Levine and Vergara, neither of whom had previous UGBC experience, were able to mobilize strong support from students not affiliated with the organization. They won the EC’s straw poll at the campaign kickoff event by 25 votes, and garnered strong backing within the freshman class.
“I think it’s important that we follow through on the commitments we have already made,” said Fiore-Chettiar, who is still a co-director of FACES.
Both Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese will still serve as senators in the SA until they are sworn in as the new leaders of the government’s executive branch. They said they will continue to work on their legislative initiatives and plan for their next year’s administration.
“My first priority as the new executive vice president will be to ensure that all of the [Student Assembly] seats are filled before the summer,” said Marchese.
Turnover in the SA has been high in past years, as some seats are left unfilled if senators decide not to seek reelection and if no candidates run. Marchese said that this leads to confusion in the fall semester when students with little UGBC experience must be appointed to fill the seats.
Fiore-Chettiar and Marchese praised their supporters for helping them win an election that was heavily predicated on the four candidates’ promises to change the organization that many have claimed is out of touch with student concerns.
“All of this was made possible by our team,” Marchese said. “This should not be seen as Chris and Nanci winning. It should be seen as, our team really fought for a vision, and that vision won because of them.”