The 2011 Student Government Inc. elections produced a split ticket executive board on Wednesday afternoon, with POWER candidate Sabino Curcio defeating FORCE candidate Andre McDonald for the president’s position.
Curcio beat out McDonald by only 25 votes in the closest presidential election in SGI history, according to Taryn Glynn, chair of the SGI elections committee.
Darren Morton, the associate vice president for Student Affairs, told the assembly of students and candidates before the announcement that there had been a 17 percent drop in voter turnout from last year, with 1,345 student votes compared to last year’s 1,619.
After the announcement, Curcio talked briefly with Torch reporters about the nature of a split ticket board.
“It’s great,” Curcio said. “Obviously we have a split ticket again, and as we said from the start, we’re all leaders working together, joining tickets to continue to be the voice of the students and further our work with St. John’s University.”
Kevin Grover, who is currently studying abroad, was elected vice president from the POWER ticket, becoming the first student to be elected from overseas.
In addition to the president and vice president positions, Marcial Zebaze from POWER was elected treasurer, Meredith Kenyon from FORCE was elected secretary, Ellen McBurney from POWER was elected senior senator, John Marchi from FORCE was elected junior senator and Elizabeth Sheehan from FORCE was elected the sophomore senator.
Zebaze told the Torch that his victory was extremely rewarding and the journey has been both an education and a blessing.
“It was great to take the ride with the individuals that I took it with and now I get the chance to stay true to the platform I ran on,” said Zebaze. “I’ll continue to fulfill the duties set forth in my address.”
The FORCE ticket was suspended from campaigning Tuesday afternoon for alleged campaigning violations, less than 24 hours prior to ballots closing.
McDonald, who received 660 votes for president, felt that the suspension hurt him and his ticket.
“I believe that if we had had that last 24 hours to campaign, we could have been there,” said McDonald. “It may have had a greater impact. But we gave it our best.”
This year’s SGI president, Patrick Brewer, was happy for the winners and was confident that the split ticket wouldn’t be an issue.
“They have their work cut out for them,” Brewer said. “A split ticket is always hard to do. But I think they’ll come together quickly. There’s a lot of firsts this year—it was the first time someone was elected from abroad, first split as wide as this one. But I think they’ll ultimately be fine.”