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Burdick and Schmidt to compete in run-off

Jenn Metz | Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Election Committee of the Judicial Council announced the tickets Grant Schmidt-Cynthia Weber and Laura Burdick-Derek Sanchez will advance to a run-off election for the offices of student body president and vice president Monday.

In order to determine a winner, one ticket must receive more than 50 percent of the total vote, George Chamberlain, president of the Judicial Council, said.

Four thousand, five hundred and nine students participated in Monday’s election, which ran from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on-line. Students were directed via three e-mail messages sent out by the Judicial Council to a Web site where they entered their netID and password to vote.

The number of students who voted in the election was “the largest turnout ever,” Marcello Perez, vice president of the Judicial Council Elections Committee, told the four tickets, who were assembled in the Notre Dame Room of LaFortune to hear the results.

Four thousand, five hundred and nine votes cast is approximately 54 percent of the undergraduate student body based on the enrollment numbers from fall 2008.

The Schmidt-Weber ticket received a total of 2,070 votes, equaling 45.9 percent, to the Burdick-Sanchez ticket’s 1109 votes, or 24.5 percent.

The other two tickets in the election – James McCaughan-Tom Gorski and Luke Lennon-Charlie Harig – received 383 votes, or 8.4 percent, and 557 votes, or 12.3 percent, respectively.

Three hundred ninety, or 8.6 percent, of the students who chose to participate in the election, voted to abstain.

Each ticket carried its presidential candidate’s residence hall: Schmidt, who lives in Knott Hall, received 107 votes from the dormitory; Burdick received 86 Cavanaugh votes, McCaughan received 85 Siegfried votes and Lennon received 132 Zahm votes.

Perez told the Burdick-Sanchez and Schmidt-Weber tickets the run-off election procedure will mirror that of the regular election. The tickets will not receive any funding in addition to their initial 200 dollars for the days of campaigning ahead; the candidates are not permitted to campaign past midnight the night before the run-off election.

Any new posters put up by the candidates must carry Student Activities Office and Election Committee approval stamps.

Schmidt and Weber told The Observer they were pleased with the results of Monday’s election.

“We’re excited, but we still have work to do and people to talk to,” Schmidt said.

They said they were both happy with the overall student body turnout in the election, which shows a real interest in student government.

“Most people care about what we’re doing, and that’s what you want to see,” Schmidt said. “The participation and interest of students supporting [the election] attests to what anyone can do in the future.”

Schmidt, who participated in a run-off election last year with current student body president Bob Reish, said their campaign “didn’t take the run-off lightly.”

“This is a new ball game,” he said. “We need to keep the support we already have and have three more days to explain ourselves to those we haven’t convinced.”

He said their campaign will most likely be focusing on face-to-face conversations, explaining the feasibility of their ideas, with fellow students in the days before the run-off election instead of adding more posters to dormitory hallways.

“We hope to have just as much voter turnout next time,” Weber said.

Burdick and Sanchez said Monday’s results were “expected.”

“With four tickets running, a run off is not surprising,” Burdick told The Observer. “With Grant already in office, we didn’t expect to come in and sweep it, but I think we’re happy with where we are.”

Over the weekend, the Burdick-Sanchez campaign posted new posters, called “The Spectator,” that addressed a few of their platform initiatives.

“We felt like we needed something to counteract the fact that we didn’t get The Observer or Scholastic endorsement, so we made our own endorsement,” Sanchez said.

He said an endorsement “gives another ticket an advantage, and we wanted to set the record straight on that.”

Burdick said the response to the posters was positive, and people thought they were “clever.” “When people went to vote, that was the last name they saw,” she said.

Sanchez said he hopes the student body sees “we’re also a legitimate set of candidates which I really hope gets highlighted.”

“It will be interesting to see how it plays out,” he said.

A moderated run-off debate featuring both tickets will take place Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Main Lobby of LaFortune. Run-off elections will take place between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday.

Aaron Steiner contributed to this report.