By Oscar Gonzalez/@originalgamer1
At the last Student Government Association meeting on April 23, outgoing president Andres Holliday announced the incoming president and vice president. Nearly a week later, after an appeal and multiple recounts, Student Affairs declared an official winner of the student body elections.
Between April 20-23, students voted online for one of two teams running for office; Sylvia Soto, outgoing SGA vice president, with Jon Avila; or Allison Garcia with Brian Harrin.
Voting ended at 2 p.m. on April 23. Afterward, SGA elections manager Ruben Medrano reviewed the results and confirmed elects Garcia and Harrin.
The vote was close, with Garcia and Harrin winning by a single vote, 137 to 136.
The following day on April 24, Melissa Mahan, SGA adviser and vice president of student affairs, received an appeal from Soto requesting closer examination of the election results.
A copy of the appeal was requested from the office of Student Affairs. Mahan provided a summary of the appeal over the phone, confirming Soto initiated the process.
Soto was unavailable to comment. Attempts to leave voicemail were unsuccessful.
To help resolve the matter, a faculty member was assigned as an appeal reviewer. Mahan confirmed in an April 25 email to SGA and The Mesquite a faculty member unassociated with the SGA or any degree programs related to the persons filing the appeal would review the matter.
The appeal process concluded on April 25, determining Garcia won the election by one vote, 137 votes to 136. To ensure an accurate vote count, two independent staff members counted the vote three times, according to Mahan.
Garcia and Harrin were not sworn into office during the meeting due to the lack of senators to make quorum for the meeting. Even though Garcia and Harrin were not sworn in, both expressed excitement over the results.
“There are definitely a few things that we’re looking at wanting to do,” Garcia said. “We obviously want to create that bridge between the student body and SGA. There are many students that still don’t know what SGA does or realize that it’s our job to advocate for them.”
“I’m really excited to finally give a voice to the students and excited to hear what they have to say, too,” Harrin said.
During her campaign, Garcia met with numerous student organizations. She said continuing this one-on-one communication will create a two-way street between the SGA and student organizations.
Holliday, still presiding SGA president, said today an inauguration meeting will happen soon to swear in Garcia and Harrin. The association has not set an official date.