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Becca Blais, Sibonay Shewit elected student body president, vice president

| Friday, February 10, 2017

Juniors Becca Blais, left, and Sibonay Shewit speak at the student body president debate Monday at Carey Auditorium. Students voted Wednesday, electing Blais the next president and Shewit the next vice president.Eddie Griesedieck | The Observer

Juniors Becca Blais, left, and Sibonay Shewit speak at the student body president debate Monday at Carey Auditorium. Students voted Wednesday, electing Blais the next president and Shewit the next vice president.

Judicial Council announced the results of the campaign for student government at 1:50 a.m. Friday in an email sent to the student body. Juniors Becca Blais and Sibonay Shewit will take office for the 2017-2018 term as student body president and vice president April 1.

Blais and Shewit were up against one other ticket, juniors Rohit Fonseca and Daniela Narimatsu.

“We’re incredibly honored to have this opportunity to serve the student body,” Blais said. “We’re here to listen to every voice and amplify those voices. We would like to commend Rohit, Daniela and [campaign manager Madi Purrenhage] on an incredible campaign. It was an honor to run with friends.”

The Election Committee of the Judicial Council announced at 1 a.m. Friday in a press release that the Fonseca-Narimatsu ticket for the student government election was required to forfeit 5 percent of the votes cast for the candidates’ ticket, a reduction from the original 7 percent forfeiture that was announced in a press release Wednesday.

According to Friday’s release, Fonseca and Narimatsu were found to be “in violation of Subsection 17.2(e) of the Student Union Constitution” during their campaign.

“Receipts for all election materials purchased or donated must be presented to the Election Committee prior to any use of the materials,” the section reads. “All receipts must be accompanied by a list of materials purchased.”

According to Wednesday’s press release, Fonseca and Narimatsu purchased Facebook advertising prior to receiving the Election Committee’s approval.

Section 17.2(f) of the Student Union Constitution calls for a “forfeiture of candidacy,” rather than a forfeiture of votes.

“The Election Committee voted to remove Subsection 17.2(f) from the allegation result ‘in light of the senate’s decision’ per Subsection 13.5(j),” Friday’s release read.

The 5 percent sanction was inconsequential, as Blais and Shewit’s 2,435 votes accounted for 52.89 percent of valid (non-abstention) votes prior to the sanction and 54.17 percent of counted votes following the sanction.

Fonseca and Narimatsus initial 2,169 votes accounted for 47.11 percent of valid votes; following the sanctions, the ticket received 2,060 eligible votes, or 45.83 percent of the post-sanction total counted.

There were 4,846 votes cast, with 242 abstentions — meaning the Blais-Shewit won a narrow majority of all votes cast — for a turnout rate of 58 percent.

“We’re just very thankful to our team for standing by us — every student that shared their ideas with us,” Shewit said. “[Blais] and I are very, very excited to carry on the idea of revamping student government and making it student first.”

The results were originally scheduled to be released to the campaigns at midnight Wednesday, however the appeal process delayed the release.

When Blais and Shewit take office in April, they will become just the second female president-vice president pairing.

The Observer reached out to Purrenhage for comment on behalf of the Fonseca-Narimatsu campaign, but had not received a response by the time of publication.

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley is one of the Associate News Editors for The Observer. A junior majoring in English and the Program of Liberal Studies, she hails from Flushing, MI and lives in Flaherty Hall.

Contact Megan