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VOICE Sweeps Student Senate Elections

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A nearly clean sweep by the VOICE ticket this undergraduate student election season has left the new President Nick Southall without words.

He edged out FUSS’s candidate Matthew Farmer with 63 percent of the vote, garnering 1342 votes to Farmer’s 780.

“I’m just speechless. I’ve always dreamed of this happening,” he said.

Southall and his executive board of Vice President Anna Morton and Treasurer Austin LaForest will take control of Senate at next week’s meeting. Friday morning they will attend the Board of Elections meeting to introduce themselves, and then begin transitioning to a new staff for the 2013-14 school year.

Farmer will attend the board meeting as well to continue fighting against guaranteed tuition. The loss hasn’t dampened his spirits.

“The reason we ran was to try to seize some of that institutional power. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen,” Farmer said.

But after only spending 53 dollars on the campaign, he’s proud of the work accomplished by his ticket including Jacob Chaffin and Rebekah Rittenberg, along with other students promoting their platform.

“We think we ran an incredibly positive, incredibly clean campaign,” Farmer said.

Zach George celebrated along with VOICE, which he believed was the more deserving ticket.

“I’ve worked with these individuals,” he said. “I have no doubt they’ll be an outstanding student senate next year.”

“It will be good to have their experience as we work together next year,” commented Student Trustee Amanda Roden.

Newly appointed Student Trustee Keith Wilbur was happy with the points raised throughout the campaign. He believes VOICE’s position on guaranteed tuition—a topic central to many debates and much of FUSS’s core ideals—was the best one.

“I don’t want to negate [tuition hikes being an issue]. But there are other issues, and there are other things students care about. And I think that really showed here,” he said. “Protests don’t get you everything.”

Vice President Ryan Lombardi was excited to see a lot of students decide to vote for either of the parties, though he’d like to see more students run for other non-executive positions in the future.

He also commented on what he called “challenging situations” that arose over the last week.

“I’d certainly like to see elections stay civil,” he said. “I think we need to continue to work on that in the future.”

George and Wilbur described the race as “fair” and “clean,” respectively. Farmer noted that the campaign might call into question “suspected dirty tactics.”

Voter turnout was just over 2,000, almost equal to last year’s election. In 2011, voter turnout was double.

But thoughts of future campaigns are the last of Southall’s concerns as he begins preparing for the upcoming year.

“Having these people I picked all around me as we became Student Senate tonight, it’s the best feeling in the world,” he said. “I should really call my mom.”

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