In one of the most overwhelming landslides in recent memory, sophomore Hutchinson Williams won the FUSA presidency with 819 votes Tuesday night, defeating junior Ryan Neubauer by a margin of 508 votes.

“I’m very excited, and things couldn’t have gone better. I want to assure everyone that it’s gonna be a great year,” said Williams amidst hugs and high-fives from supporters.

“With regards to the margin, I guess the numbers speak for themselves. But I’m really happy with the voter turnout, I’m glad to see so many students that came out to vote. Regardless of who wins or loses, we want someone for whom a large part of the student body comes out and votes.”

Williams’s running mate, Megan McConville ’08 captured the Vice Presidency with a less commanding majority, defeating junior Ashley Toombs 604-512.

“I’m really excited . . . very, very happy,” said McConville. “It was a tight race, I was up against great competition. Obviously people have high expectations, and now it’s even more important that I do a good job.”

“It was so close,” said Toombs with a tear in her eye. “It was a good race…I plan on looking into other possible positions in FUSA.”

“I was kind of surprised [Williams] won by so much, but it was still a great race,” said Neubauer. “We’ll still have a great year.”

“We are enormously pleased,” said Rick Fasano, FUSA election commissioner for this year’s race. “I give all the credit in the world to the two separate candidates. They all ran such tight races, and the turnout exceeded all my expectations.”

While the turnout was indeed the highest in four years (see story on page 7), the election was not free of irregularities. Due to what Fasano called a “clerical error,” all ballots for Senate candidates in the Class of 2008 were deemed inadmissible.

“There was a problem with the ballot submitted to the town. One of the candidates petitioned because her name was completely left off the ballot. I was more than happy to grant her request for a run-off election next Tuesday,” said Fasano.

Political drama was not limited to Tuesday’s proceedings. Other problems arose well in advance of election day.

A Staggering New Rule

One of the most radical changes to the election code was the inability of students to vote without their StagCard.

“We did it for logistical purposes,” said Fasano, the student-court appointed election commissioner of this year’s race. “We didn’t want to have to deal with driver’s licenses; we wanted to streamline the entire process.”

“We thought it lent an air of legitimacy to the election,” Fasano added.

FUSA President Jessica DiBuono ’06 offered a dissenting opinion.

“I went to the StagCard office and payed $25 to buy a new one. I didn’t have a StagCard and they wouldn’t let me, the FUSA president, vote,” said DiBuono. “I think it was an important measure, but I really don’t think that a less interested student would have gone to the same lengths to vote.”

When he learned of this, Fasano expanded on his rationale for not allowing outside IDs.

“It’s not as though you’re paying 25 bucks just to vote. Your StagCard is your campus identification, so we felt it’s great for people who have it, and unfortunate for people who lost it or for seniors who don’t carry it on campus.”

Neubauer disagreed.

“I think it’s frustrating; it’s counterproductive and hypocritical. [Fasano] got up in front of Senate and charged the student body to get out and vote, and then they reject valid IDs, IDs that are accepted by the U.S. government.”

“It’s weird for juniors and seniors especially, because what does a junior or senior need a StagCard for otherwise. They don’t live in dorms or have meal plans,” said Kieran Gilligan ’07.

VP-elect Megan McConville ’06 said, “I think it’s unfortunate that people were turned away. We made a great effort to get people out, and it’s unfortunate that they were unable to vote.”

Great Ballots of Fire

Commissioner Fasano intended to align candidates on the ballot based on their ticket. As the ballots were printed in Tuesday’s election, Neubauer was on the same row as the opposing ticket’s VP candidate McConville, and Williams was on the same row as Toombs, his opponent’s running mate.

“We wanted to list the candidates as they campaigned together,” said Fasano. “A number of people raised concerns immediately.”

Senator Tim Rich, in addition to “several” other FUSA officers, challenged the measure, citing the election code’s non-recognition of tickets.

“I filed an appeal because I didn’t think it was morally right for [Election Commissioner Rick Fasano] to be changing the code within seven days of the election,” said Rich. “Candidates sign a piece of paper saying they will adhere to the code. I think it’s unfortunate that [Fasano] continued to change rules up until election day.”

Fasano and the rest of the committee changed the ballot per the wishes of Rich and other vocal insiders, resulting in the somewhat “confusing” ballots in the machines on Tuesday.

“I didn’t find it to be too confusing because I took the time to note it,” said Evan Barden ’08. “On the other hand, I can easily see deceptive elements. Any average voter might have voted for the VP following their Presidential choice simply out of routine.”

As commissioner, Fasano reserves the right to change the code as often as he deems necessary under Section VI of the election code.

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