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Ward and McCormick to face off

Melissa Flannigan | Wednesday, February 16, 2011

After a campaign violation delayed the results for a day, the Election Committee of the Judicial Council announced the Pat McCormick-Brett Rocheleau and James Ward-Heather Eaton tickets will proceed to a runoff election for the offices of student body president and vice president.

A runoff debate featuring the McCormick-Rocheleau and Ward-Eaton tickets will take place tonight at 10 p.m. in the Main Lobby of LaFortune Student Center. The runoff election will be held Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

To win the initial election, a ticket must win a majority of the votes cast, Michael Thomas, Judicial Council Vice President of Elections, said. No ticket received more than 50 percent of the vote in the election.

The council received 4,036 votes in total, which is slightly lower than the 4,177 votes cast in last year’s election. Thomas said the number generally remains the same, and that this year’s was a respectable turnout.

The McCormick-Rocheleau ticket received 1,536 votes, which is equal to 38.07 percent of the votes, followed by Ward and Eaton, who received 911 votes, or 22.59 percent.

The Catherine Soler-Emily LeStrange ticket, with 904 votes, or 22.42 percent, received only seven votes less than Ward and Eaton.

The two remaining tickets, Ricky Bevington-Olivia Colangelo and Kevin Noonan-Matt Thomas, received 266 votes, or 6.60 percent, and 257 votes, or 6.37 percent, respectively.

One hundred and sixty-three students, or 4.04 percent, chose to abstain from voting.

Following the results, Ward said he is glad the results prove that he and Eaton connected with students.

“We’re absolutely overjoyed to know that people do have confidence in us,” he said. “That’s what continues to inspire us to go through this whole process.”

Ward and Eaton also both expressed their positive feelings toward McCormick and Rocheleau.

“It’s nice to know that no matter which way it goes we will be happy with the results,” Eaton said.

McCormick and Rocheleau said they are excited about the possibility to see their plan for a new vision of student government through.

“It’s been an honor for us to have the chance to have this conversation with the student body,” McCormick said.

McCormick said the palpable excitement on campus is because this campaign has never been about the candidates.

“It’s about Notre Dame students’ hopes for the school,” he said. “We’re fired up to realize a broader vision and to put our hope in action for Notre Dame.”

Rocheleau said he is both excited and hopeful for things to come.

Soler said she and LeStrange planned to continue their involvement in student government despite their loss.

“I am disappointed Emily and I won’t be able to serve the student body in the way we had hoped,” she said. “But we want to say thank you to everyone who supported us, and we will contribute to the student body in any way we can.”

Although he will not proceed to the runoff election, Bevington said he truly enjoyed his experience of running for student body president.

“I had an awesome time,” he said. “There were so many great tickets willing to run and trying to help the student body.”

Noonan said he and Thomas are simply glad their number of votes is higher than the number of students who abstained.

The Judicial Council distributed a link to the voting website by e-mail on Monday, and students were able to vote on the site between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

The results were delayed 24 hours due to a campaign violation by the Ward- Eaton ticket. Ward sent an e-mail titled “Your year next year” that was found by the Judicial Council to contain campaign misconduct.

As a sanction, Ward was required to send a second e-mail to the student body apologizing for his prior message by 11:59 p.m. Monday night. Although an appeal was filed within Student Senate, the appeal was later dropped and the decision of the Election Committee stood.

Ward complied with the given sanction before the deadline.