Unlikely Endings to Student Elections

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Author: Notre Dame Magazine staff

It was a weird year in student government elections as the student body presidents at both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s took office amid controversy.

The strange happenings started at Saint Mary’s, where the vote for president and vice president ended in an unprecedented tie. Two tickets received 712 votes in a runoff that followed an initial four-ticket balloting. In the third vote, held two days after the deadlocked second, one of the tickets received 51 percent of the ballots.

However, two days after that the losing ticket succeeded in having the result set aside on the grounds that the third both had been authorized by a Saint Mary’s administrator instead of by the appropriate student elections committee. The committee ultimately awarded the presidency and vice presidency to the team that narrowly lost the third-vote and filed the complaint on the grounds that they polled 43 percent in the first vote, the most of any ticket.

After the Saint Mary’s fiasco, Notre Dame’s election figured to be boring. Not so. On election day, none of the 10 tickets running won a majority, so a runoff of the two top voter-getters had to be held, as at Saint Mary’s. Who won the runoff, however, wasn’t known until two weeks later because the student elections commission voted to disqualify one of the tickets because of illegal e-mail campaigning by their supporters on election day. When student Senate finally did make the vote totals public, it showed that the winners by default had received 56 percent of the votes anyway.

The president and vice-president elect, respectively, are junior Brian O’Donoghue and sophomore Brooke Norton, the only female who ran for either office. Notre Dame still has never had a female student-body president.

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