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Schmidt, Weber elected Pres., V.P.

Madeline Buckley | Friday, February 13, 2009

Junior Grant Schmidt and sophomore Cynthia Weber won the election for student body president and vice president with 51.9 percent of the vote in one of the closest elections in recent years, according to Judicial Council president George Chamberlain.

Schmidt and Weber defeated juniors Laura Burdick and Derek Sanchez, who received 48.1 percent of the vote.

Slightly less than half the undergraduate student body, or 3,942 students, voted Thursday, Chamberlain said. The Schmidt-Weber ticket received 1,886 votes while the Burdick-Sanchez ticket grabbed 1,746 votes.

Chamberlain said the 310 votes to abstain were excluded from the denominator used to derive the percentages, but if the abstaining votes had been included, neither candidate would have received the necessary 50 percent to win the election.

“This is the closest run-off election I have seen in my time here,” Chamberlain said.

Schmidt said he is happy with the high voter turnout and the close election because close elections create high expectations for the winner.

“I want this position to be earned,” he said.

Weber said the close election puts more pressure on the duo to perform well in office.

“So many people voted, and Derek and Laura had so many supporters,” she said. “They are going to hold us to a high standard.”

Weber said she is confident the Weber-Schmidt administration will represent the Burdick-Sanchez supporters.

Schmidt said the high voter turnout is an indication of the strength of both tickets.

“These four clearly represent the student body,” he said.

Schmidt said he believes his experience as student body vice president along with Weber’s current job as sophomore class president were crucial in earning the win.

Weber said she believes their grassroot campaign also impacted the outcome of the election.

“We took time to meet with individual students and we listened to what they want,” she said.

As student body vice president, Schmidt said he is in the position to implement his platform ideas right away.

“Since I’m in office this year, a lot of our work will start now,” he said. “There are also things Bob and I want to get done before his term ends.”

The taxi reform plan, which will offer students coupons to cover cab fares, and the effort to create cheaper options when buying textbooks are the top platform ideas on the list, Schmidt said.

“If we are going to accomplish those we will have to start now,” he said.

The promise of expanding ‘Grab n Go’ food options is also a plan that will be implemented quickly, he said.

Schmidt said he and Weber want to continue to address the frequent question from students about what student government actually does.

“Cynthia and I want to make student government more visible,” he said.

Despite their defeat, Burdick and Sanchez said they believe in their campaign platform and will not abandon it.

“We will work on our platform ideas without the title,” Burdick said.

She said her and Sanchez discussed the implementation of their ideas with the necessary departments during campaigning, and they will continue to do so next year.

Although she lost, Burdick said she is happy with the large number of students who made the effort to vote.

“I think it’s saying something about the candidates that this many people voted,” she said. “Obviously both tickets had a lot of support. It wasn’t a blowout.”

Burdick emphasized that her ticket only lost by 140 votes.

“That’s awfully close,” she said.

Schmidt and Weber both said they are excited and ready to lead the student body starting April 1.

“Right now, we are pumped,” Schmidt said. “We will continue to evaluate ways to better Notre Dame.”